5 Things Louis van Gaal Has Changed at Manchester United
Louis van Gaal has been in charge at Manchester United for a little more than three weeks.
He hasn't yet been able to make wholesale changes to his squad, but he has made some alterations as he prepares for his first season in English football.
Most were enforced while the Dutchman was away with his players in the United States.
Now back in Manchester, he has less than a week before he finds out how effective his tweaks have been when United take on Swansea City in the Premier League on August 16.
The most obvious change Louis van Gaal has made is to the system.
United were used to playing variations of 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 under Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes, but Van Gaal has used a three-man defence throughout pre-season.
It's likely he'll stick with his 5-3-2 system during the early part of the season.
But with a threadbare defence and midfield, he'll need to keep the bulk of his squad fit for it to work—unless he can make more additions before the transfer deadline.
United's pre-season has been different to last summer under David Moyes.
The players have still done their running as they try to get fit for the new season, but much of the work has been done with the ball at their feet.
It's all part of Louis van Gaal's new regime.
Under the Dutchman, the emphasis has shifted from fitness to technical training during pre-season.
The Training Ground
Louis van Gaal had only been at United's Carrington training ground for a few hours before he realised that changes needed to be made.
Concluding that it was so windy that players were struggling to work with the ball, he ordered trees to be planted around the pitches to keep them sheltered.
He also asked for cameras to be installed so he can watch the videos of sessions with his staff and players.
And the canteen has been filled with round tables instead of square ones to promote a better team spirit.
The Confidence Levels
Louis van Gaal inherited a squad of players who had their confidence battered and bruised last season.
But the former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach has set about restoring it.
He's got a reputation as a hard taskmaster, but he's also an intelligent man manager.
Players like Ashley Young looked like they might be on their way out of Old Trafford at the end of last season, but he looks like he's been given a new lease of life under the new manager.
The Backroom Staff
Louis van Gaal hasn't been able to bring in a lot of new players. There's less than a week before the start of the season and only Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw have arrived.
But the Dutchman has made significant changes to the backroom staff.
Former Netherlands under-21 coach Albert Stuivenberg has played a key role during pre-season, leading many of the sessions.
Van Gaal has also been assisted by Ryan Giggs, goalkeeping coach Frans Hoek, scout Marcel Bout, performance analyst Max Reckers and training physiologist Jos van Dijk.
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