Louis van Gaal is never short of a bit of self-confidence and was quick to back his decision to revert to a 3-5-2 formation against Arsenal.
Van Gaal used the formation throughout pre-season with success but the team struggled in the league, picking up two points from the three games using the tactic before the use of a diamond started against Queens Park Rangers.
But due to injuries and a need for more defensive players against the Gunners, Van Gaal told Sky Sports after the match he feels it was the right thing to do.
“I am convinced that I made the right decision [on back three]. To make that decision before the match, it’s a quality decision,” said the United manager.
Van Gaal also hailed the team’s performance overall but knew it could have all been very different: “I think it is a fantastic victory at the right moment.
“We have a lot of injuries, but despite of that we win a difficult away match. Arsenal are a good attacking team. At the end I can laugh but you can imagine if they score one of four or five chances in the first half it is a different game.
“They have had five big chances yes, but we have also had possibilities at the end of the first half. Not so big but we could also score.
“In the second part of the first half we were coming back. We don’t have the confidence in the first half and I said we needed to build up the ball and because of that we got chances. It is no surprise for me that we scored in the second half.
“I was not pleased with the ball possession of our team but after that we improved and in the second half we did very well.”
Supporters were pessimistic at the return of the formation given it’s previous results and the side started poorly and could have been 2 or 3-0 down had it not been for more heroics from David De Gea in goal.
But the extra man at the back soon showed its worth as the trio of Chris Smalling, Patrick McNair and Tyler Blackett thwarted every Arsenal attack and allowed the team’s attacking talent to do the damage on the counter attack in the second half.
Chris Smalling in particular thrived in the system after a shocking performance against Manchester City and the defenders will take a large chunk of the credit for Saturday’s victory.