Manchester United are yet to win a game after their 2-1 victory over Everton earlier this month. They managed a 2-2 draw against West Brom and a last-gasp goal earned them a point off Chelsea in their most recent outing. But what makes the accumulation of two points from a possible six so impressive?
In the wake of Manchester United’s 2-2 draw, Manchester United manager, Louis Van Gaal said “It was a great team performance… The team played very well and we need to take that to the next game.” Van Gaal went on to further add he wasn’t entirely pleased “because we played our best match of the season and the result is not good enough.”
However, the Dutchman did let that he had “seen on the training ground now that we are better, the players understand the formation more.”
Fast forward a week later and Van Gaal’s men managed yet another point, this time against his former protégé – Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, with Robin Van Persie grabbing an equaliser deep into stoppage time after retired Ivorian international, Didier Drogba had opened the scoring for the Blues.
The aftermath of the game saw Louis Van Gaal say “We kept together and I think we deserved it. I have seen that we could have beat Chelsea, I’m saying that nearly every game but this is against Chelsea who are a top team and we were at least equal.”
While Van Gaal had expressed his disappointment at not bagging three points from both games, the two points earned go beyond just statistics; they were earned the vintage Manchester United way.
Having trailed in both games, United took the game to their opponents and turned the screw as they dominated possession and launched torrents of attacks.
The common denominator in both showings was the reintroduction of self-belief in a side once described as ‘broken.’
“The most pleasing thing is we are showing again we are believing in making a goal in spite of the result being bad. 1-0 behind it is fantastic the players are running until the 90th minute to equalise or win,” said Van Gaal, in his post-match comments at Old Trafford.
While the performances do not match their current position on the logs, Van Gaal – and Manchester United fans the world over – can be quietly optimistic of good times ahead.
The next hurdles to negotiate past in the coming weeks are champions, Manchester City in the derby before taking on Arsenal. That will provide the litmus test to gauge just how far United have come under the instrumental former Netherlands coach.
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