Is Louis Van Gaal’s latest tactical tweak more down to keep hold of his job?


Speaking ahead of the FA Cup semi-final against Everton, Louis Van Gaal confirmed that Wayne Rooney will continue playing in Manchester United’s midfield. The decision has virtually guaranteed United to operate with a 4-3-3 formation this weekend.

Van Gaal played the 4-3-3 formation against Crystal Palace which saw his team deliver one of the more attractive performances of the season. Full-backs were bombing forward, midfield runners were ever present and movement in the final third was better than recent weeks as well.

Rooney played in the deeper role and orchestrated United’s play by constantly switching the balls to either wings. With Morgan Schneiderlin and Juan Mata alongside him, Rooney was all the more effective in his first start back from the injury.

As for the front three, it was more of a Manchester United attacking threat from yesteryear with pace of Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford threatening opponents. To his credit, Van Gaal has finally understood the best way to use the players he has at his disposal.

One may question the timing of this change after boring the life out of Old Trafford and Manchester United fans. Van Gaal knows that if he fails to deliver on the FA Cup and a top-4 finish this season, he will most certainly be fired as the United manager.

Knowing the possibility of getting sacked, Van Gaal has suddenly switched his tactics with only 5-6 games remaining in the season. It is coming across as his last bid to prove himself worthy of managing the club save his job at Man United.

Despite promising exciting end to the season, it does not guarantee Van Gaal the Manchester United managerial role next season.

Jose Mourinho is still the hot favorite to be in charge of Old Trafford but if Van Gaal ends up winning the FA Cup and finish in top-4, it would improve the chances of seeing out his 3-year contract at Old Trafford.

One can only imagine what would have happened had Van Gaal not been rigid in his tactics earlier in the season. We may have seen a better performance from Manchester United and a better league finish.

Van Gaal’s latest switch could still secure a trophy for United, but it might have come too late in the season for the Dutchman to remain charge of Old Trafford.

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