Man Utd must spend money after shock loss to Swansea City

The wheels are off the Louis van Gaal bandwagon after Manchester United's 2-1 loss to Swansea City, writes Mark McDougall

By Mark McDougall

It took just half an hour for the wheels to come off the Louis Van Gaal bandwagon at Old Trafford.

When Ki Sung-yueng slotted into the bottom corner from the edge of the area, the hopes that had filled Manchester United fans since Van Gaal took charge seemed to drift away with no hope of getting them back.

The 63-year-old has previously begun the revivals of Barcelona and Bayern Munich in recent years, but this is his biggest task.

Restoring the Red Devils to past glories will be by no means an easy feat, or something that will happen over-night – but there is plenty of promise there from the opening game of the season to keep United fans in hope.

One thing that will continue to worry the Old Trafford faithful is the defence. Over the course of the summer they witnessed the decimation of arguably the greatest centre-half pairing of the Premier League era when Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand moved on.

Couple that with the exit of French left back Patrice Evra and United all of a sudden have an unrecognisable defence. The big money signing of Luke Shaw from Southampton has been the only defensive signing made by United over the summer, leaving them with Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones as their senior centre-halves.

All of them are good defenders, but are they capable of leading Man Utd back to the top?

The match with Swansea saw Van Gaal hand a debut to Tyler Blackett at centre back. The left-sided defender slotted in beside Jones and Smalling in a back three, before a halftime tactical switch moved to a back four with Tyler Blackett staying in the left centre-back slot.

Given that Smalling and Jones are a lot more experienced, it makes the fact Blackett was the one who stood out most, both defensively and on the ball, an even more impressive feat.

Blackett isn’t the only impressive youth player that Van Gaal has on his hands, and you can be assured that if Van Gaal thinks they are good enough, they’ll play.

The defender was joined in the starting line-up by attacker Jesse Lingaard, who occupied the right wing back slot in this game before an injury stopped his early promise. He was replaced by Adnan Januzaj, with Michael Keane, Will Keane, Reece James and James Wilson all also in reserve.

But there are many problems. The fact Evans and Antonio Valencia, as good as they are, are said to be some of the most important players in the squad is a worry for Van Gaal and United fans in general.

Money has to be spent if United are to challenge for the title, they have been linked with the likes of Arturo Vidal, Angel Di Maria and Mats Hummels over the course of the summer with none of those entering the club yet.

Man United’s problems won’t be sorted overnight, Louis Van Gaal must be given time by the Old Trafford support, and he must be given money by the Manchester United board if they want him to succeed and return the club to the top.

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