Gary Neville: Van Gaal should scrap his 3-5-2 formation

Gary Neville has urged Louis van Gaal to bin his 3-5-2 formation for Manchester United and stick to playing with a back four for the rest of the season.

United’s supporters chanted “4-4-2″ towards the end of the first half in which the Reds dominated possession but failed to create any clear-cut chances. This forced Van Gaal to change his formation in the second half and a minute later, Marouane Fellaini opened the scoring for United.

Gary Neville confessed on Monday Night Football that he wasn’t a big fan of Van Gaal’s 3-5-2 as United tend to enjoy more possession without actually creating scoring chances.

Neville said: “Louis van Gaal wants them to recycle the ball and switch the play. I’m not a fan of 3-5-2 because the centre-backs are the free men and they become the safe option.”

“They play out from the back but the tempo is too slow. Far too often they are keeping possession and passing it backwards.” 

“They’ve become quite predictable in the past few weeks. Manchester United looked far more dangerous on Saturday when they changed the system.”

“Fans want them to go 2-0 up and then keep possession rather than fight for goals near the end. It’s more impatience than unhappiness (from the United fans).”

Neville also emphasised the fact that United’s defenders saw a lot of the ball against QPR on Saturday.

“They play too many passes. Those back three players are on the ball far too much.”

“In the first half on Saturday, Manchester United centre-backs had 114 passes of the ball. You look at the other teams that played away from home this weekend, Southampton (57), Chelsea (37), Arsenal (26) and it’s a miraculous difference.”

“When they go to the back four in the second half it goes to 54 passes. It’s a big difference. They started looking at diagonal passes, playing risky ones, making QPR work and doing things that are unpredictable.”