Louis van Gaal will be a relieved man after a return to four in defence saw him record his first competitive win with Manchester United.
Before Sunday’s 4-0 thumping of a lacklustre Queens Park Rangers, the Dutchman had made the worst start of any new United manager since Ron Atkinson, who took a solitary point from his first three league games in 1981.
After the game the new manager was in a boisterous mood and made a point of thanking the fans who have suffered a testing start to the new campaign.
“I said before the game ‘let us make a new start’,” Van Gaal told MUTV.
“That’s important as after the transfer period, we can now work on a team-building process and make ourselves better every week – we have done it, I believe.
“The most important thing from today is that we created goals. In the other matches we were the better team on the pitch but we didn’t make goals. Now we have made four goals and that gives a boost to every player.”
“The fans have had to wait a long time for a good result and good play at home. I thank them for their confidence and support.”
There will be much tougher tests to come but Van Gaal will take plenty of positives from the second home game of the season. He will now believe his side are capable of achieving the third place finish demanded by his new employers.
“We’ve done very well in the transfer market. That’s a big plus, and we have to produce results,” said the United manager.
“I want to win the Premier League. If not this year, then in the second or third year,” the 63-year-old told the BBC.
The arrival of £145million’s worth of talent this summer has increased the pressure on Van Gaal who has taken over a side who could only finish seventh last season.
Sunday saw a return to a back four after Van Gaal’s preferred 3-5-2 situation had produced a series of poor results in the first four games of the season.
The boss’s decision to switch to a 4-1-2-1-2 brought the best out of his expensively assembled squad, and provided a balance which had been lacking so far this season.
Van Gaal has targeted a third place position and they will replicate Atkinson’s side of 1981/82 if they achieve it.
Main image courtesy of BT Sport via YouTube, with thanks.