Louis van Gaal says he has other ways to set Manchester United up against opponent but wants to stick with the 3-5-2 formation yet.
The Dutch boss has said his team will continue lining up in his preferred 3-5-2 formation when they face Italian club Inter Milan in their third friendly match of the International Champions Cup later today and Real Madrid on Saturday.
Van Gaal has deployed the same formation in both of the club’s pre-season wins over La Galaxy and Roma, while ensuring he employ every member of his new squad just as he did at the World Cup in Brazil with the Netherlands.
“It’s difficult to change the systems and I had to start this system at once because we don’t have time to change it,” he said at a press conference in Washington DC.
“We only have three weeks before the season starts, so I have to use all my training sessions to implement this system.
“They know already the other system [4-4-2 or 4-3-3]; they have played that from their youth, so that’s easy. You saw that in the [Netherlands’] game against Mexico – I’m sorry to say that when we were 1-0 down I changed the system to 4-3-3 and then we beat them!”
The ‘Red Devils’ flourished under the tutelage of retired manager Sir Alex Ferguson, renowned for setting up his team in the 4-4-2 formation but struggled to adapt with the variations offered by his sacked successor David Moyes.
Chris Smallings, who is set to “play all 90 minutes” of tonight’s clash with the Nerazzurri, is one of United’s players to have expressed their admiration of the new manager’s style.
“I like it more than the traditional 4-4-2. It allows a lot more freedom and you can be aggressive,” added Smallings.
Van Gaal confirmed Wilfried Zaha, who has not played a part in any of the Premier League side’s tour of the States, will play up front in the second half against Inter.
“When we play this system, he (Zaha) has to play as a striker, otherwise he cannot play,” said the 62-year-old tactician. “Young is another winger but he can play as wing-back. We shall see.”
Newly recruited left full-back Luke Shaw trained away from the rest of the squad in Monday evening’s open session and Van Gaal also addressed the former Southampton player’s condition.
“Luke Shaw is okay,” he said. “I am a coach who looks at what individual players need and I think he needs to be fit, but he is not very fit.
“Therefore he cannot perform what I want, so first he has to be fit and has to train individually.
“I have spoken with him and we have made the programme. He agreed with me. I don’t know [when he will be fit], but I have heard good messages from [fitness coach Tony] Strudwick.”