Manchester United will play 3-4-3, says Van Gaal

The new Red Devils manager deployed his side with three at the back in a 7-0 pre-season win against LA Galaxy and intends to maintain that shape in the Premier League
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has confirmed that he will adopt a three-man defence for the upcoming Premier League season.

The Red Devils beat LA Galaxy 7-0 in their first pre-season match of the summer, with Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling all starting in a back line similar to Van Gaal's Netherlands team at the World Cup.

New recruit Luke Shaw and Ecuador international Antonio Valencia operated as wing-backs and the new boss explained that it was a sign of things to come.

"We introduced a new system that we have only played two times on the training pitch 11 versus 11," the Dutchman told reporters post-game, "but the boys are willing to pick up the information. It is fantastic how they have performed.

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"Last week, 10 players who played [on Wednesday night] were not even in our training complex.

"When you want to change a system, you must start at once. We don't have time to prepare for other things.

"The other system they can play is 4-3-3 and they have played it for many years. I can change back if the system doesn't work. With the quality of the players we have, I can play 4-3-3 with three strikers on the bench but I want to play with two strikers."

Van Gaal believes that United's performance against the Galaxy will help instil confidence in his players as they attempt to become more familiar with the new system.

"It was not just the goals but the beautiful attacks," enthused the 62-year-old.

"I never go back, I always want to see the future. When I see my team playing a new system, it is better to win 7-0 than to lose because the players will then doubt the system but now I don't have that problem."

However, Van Gaal also acknowledged that his squad lack "balance", with the likes of Juan Mata and Shinji Kagawa offering similar characteristics.

"We have four No.10s so the selection is not balanced, in my eyes," he added. "I have decided to play this system because of the quality of the players but, if we lose, I can change back to another system."