It has become so obvious that the famous philosophy of highly rated Dutch manager Louis Van Gaal is that of possession than penetration.
For the first few months of his reign at united the media were used to hearing about the players trying to adapt to his philosophy and were promised a period of 3 months to see the real "Louis Van Gaal team"which the Dutch man dully delivered. After the promised 3 month we saw a united team that passes the ball round the pitch very nicely, retain possession and plays a
lot of back passes to the goal keeper with the aim of building from the back.
Possession football maybe pleasing to the eyes of the viewer but when it does not produce goals it turns to a frustrating one for the same viewer.
During the course of last season it will be remembered that United did not score more that 4 goals in up to 3 games in a whole season, their best run being 3 - 0 win against Spurs, 3 - 1 win over Liverpool and 4 -1 victory over city rivals Manchester City.
Van Gaal's men are also experiencing the same issue this season with just two goals scored in three premier league matches.
The Dutch coach had been asked whether his side needed another striker, given that they had just failed to break through Newcastle in a frustrating 0-0 draw on Saturday and appear to have a general lack of backup behind the misfiring Wayne Rooney.
"No," said Van Gaal, who then moved the debate down another side without explaining his blunt answer. "We were three times the best team [in games this season]. My worry is that we have to dominate the opponent."
The problem is that United have scored only twice in the league in three games, with one of those an own goal and the other a deflection. While they have indeed controlled each game, their current approach reminds one of what Arsene Wenger once described as "sterile domination".Comments like that of Van Gaal carry a certain innuendo in football because of the eternal debate about managers who favour possession for possession's sake rather than for actually offering an end product.
"We were unlucky with rewarding ourselves because we have created a lot of chances also, so you have to score. So I was satisfied about the performance. I said it at half-time and I said also after the match but you don't win. Against Tottenham, I was not fully satisfied by the performance but the result was much better [a 1-0 win]. The same against Aston Villa [a 1-0 win]."
The 64-year-old's entire vision of football is based on a team gradually learning a very specific style of play to the point they can apply it instinctively and at devastating speed. It is a reasonable way of thinking, one that is admirably long-sighted and might yet yield great results.unfortunately that has not been the case so far as the players sometimes pass the ball around the pitch sluggishly only to waste it when they get to the attacking half of their opponent something teams like Barcelona, Chelsea, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich cannot be accused of.
However, from the available evidence so far of his time at Old Trafford, it makes ones wonder whether Van Gaal's idealised end product, and the process to reach it, is the right one and whether it can ever be applied to a frequency that is really required at a title-winning level, only time will tell.