herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal wants his side to get more ruthless and start killing off games.

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal wants his side to get more ruthless and start killing off games.

The Dutchman, who has now been in charge at Old Trafford for three months, believes his players understand his methods. But results indicate the team still have much work to do to reach the standards being demanded of them by the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss.

United have won their last two games after an underwhelming start to the campaign but they were left hanging on against both West Ham and Everton.

Van Gaal said: "I think they do understand the philosophy but they have to 'perform' that philosophy. We have to see if it works at a higher level.

"I am looking for more balance in the team, not only spectacular and attacking football. When you lose the ball you must have a shape as a team and then you can defend more easily, and you can kill the game better."

When he arrived in July, Van Gaal warned that it could take three months for his philosophy to take hold. The 63-year-old is confident United, who endured a miserable last campaign and finished seventh in the Premier League, are heading in the right direction. He also has confidence in his own ability.

Van Gaal said: "I have confidence in myself and in my players and I think that is very important. But it is much more important that the players have confidence in the manager and his staff.

"Of course we could have done better because I don't think that we are in balance now. I am sorry to say that, but it is the truth. When you see Everton, the last 30 minutes, or Leicester, the last 30 minutes, or West Ham, the last 30 minutes - when you see the first 60 minutes it is fantastic. I hope that we shall improve in that matter."

United, who climbed to fourth in the Premier League with victory over Everton in their last outing, return to action at West Brom on Monday.

Van Gaal delivered positive news on the injury front, revealing that only four players remain on his casualty list - defenders Jonny Evans and Paddy McNair and midfielders Jesse Lingard and Antonio Valencia. England captain Wayne Rooney is still suspended.

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