Louis van Gaal watch: The Manchester United manager's tactics and demeanour against Chelsea

With the Old Trafford boss under pressure, we take a look at how he performed in the 0-0 draw with Chelsea 

Agency
Monday 28 December 2015 20:56
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Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford
Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal was under considerable pressure ahead of his side's Premier League clash with Chelsea.

His team could deliver only a seventh 0-0 draw of the season but it was a performance that ended a run of four defeats and was much improved on recent displays.

Here, we take a look at how Van Gaal shaped his team.

MOTIVATION

Van Gaal pulled no punches in his programme notes, making clear recent performances had not been good enough. Presumably what was said in the dressing room was equally clear, because the players responded. Any suggestions that the team might have lost the will to play for the Dutchman were dispelled in the early stages. United started strongly and set a good tempo in the opening half-hour.

TACTICS

Wayne Rooney returned but the United formation differed little with the captain alone up front and Anthony Martial out wide. But Bastian Schweinsteiger and Ander Herrera gave the team a bit more fluidity and Juan Mata was more involved. United seemed to function better and Chelsea struggled to get a grip on the game.

DEMEANOUR

Van Gaal was hardly seen in the technical area, preferring to watch from his seat in the dugout. He looked his usual stern self and totally focused on the job, with pen and notepad in hand.

SUBSTITUTIONS

United were unable to maintain the pace they started with, and this was recognised with the introduction of Memphis Depay for Mata. That was a logical change, as was sending on Phil Jones for Daley Blind to keep the defence alert for the closing stages. There seemed less reason to take off Matteo Darmian, who had caused Chelsea some problems on the flanks, but his replacement Cameron Borthwick-Jackson set up a great late chance for Rooney.

OVERALL IMPRESSION

Van Gaal will ultimately be judged on results - but amid all the criticism he has received of late, it has often been stated fans will tolerate defeats if performances are decent. This did seem a good enough display, so the response of supporters will be interesting. United were frustrated by a lack of luck and - possibly - sharpness in front of goal, but this was a good fighting response from Van Gaal and his team. It remains to be seen if the obvious positives are enough to save the Dutchman.

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