Man United have been on the receiving end of some criticism over their playing style as a result and West Ham United boss Sam Allardyce said his side couldn’t cope “with long-ball United” following the 1-1 draw between the two sides earlier this month.
Speaking about the team’s transfer dealings, Neville said he felt the club did not have a playing strategy when it came to their recruitment. He also intimated Di Maria and Herrera, who were signed for a combined £88m, were bought with the intention of playing a future 4-3-3, a formation van Gaal has used regularly at his previous clubs.
“It seems to me that, pre-season, part of the recruitment was based on playing three at the back, with Rojo, Blind and Shaw coming in, with another part based on 4-3-3, with Di Maria and Herrera,” Neville wrote in his latest column for The Telegraph.
“At the moment the squad is unbalanced. Until the system is settled it’s hard to identify the players needed to make it work.
“In a diamond system, for example, you need a very good No. 10 who is going to score goals, two very mobile forwards and energetic wide midfielders. In a 4-3-3, you need excellent wingers or wide forwards that can score goals.
“Playing three at the back you need two excellent wing backs. This is the conundrum at the moment. What style of play are United recruiting for?”
In the summer, van Gaal will be able to go into the transfer window with a mapped out strategy to target the players he wants in his side, a luxury he wasn’t afforded last year due to his involvement with the Netherlands at the 2014 World Cup.
It is true that van Gaal has employed negative tactics during his reign at Old Trafford but the team have only lost once in 19 games so fans cannot say the policy isn’t getting results and United will be looking to continue that run against Swansea City on Saturday.