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A new manager, a new system but perhaps surprisingly a lack of personnel. This summer has seen Manchester United go back to basics with the appointment of an old school manager, Louis Van Gaal.

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The Dutch manager arrives at Old Trafford with a record not too dissimilar from that of the man he has ultimately replaced, Sir Alex Ferguson.

A league winner with Ajax, AZ, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, the 62 year old has won the Champions league trophy not to mention guiding his country to third place at the World Cup.

Respected, fearsome, tactically aware and confrontational. Van Gaal arrives at Old Trafford almost 12 months too late with United’s fall from grace ensuring that there is no European football to look forward to this season.

It could, similar to Liverpool last season, play into his hands.

The lack of a midweek focus ensuring that the players have time to adopt to his ways and training methodologies.

The initial signs however are encouraging. A new 3-5-2 system has been adopted to with ease ensuring that the likes of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans look like the players acquired or introduced by Sir Alex and not the nervous wrecks that was symptomatic of the Moyes era.

There is an air of positivity around the club.

Wayne Rooney looks happy. Juan Mata looks happy.

So much so that Van Gaal has hinted that he may not add to the signings of Anders Herrera and Luke Shaw, although there is money available should that mind-set change.

Herrera is the man charged with shoring up a midfield that looked paper-thin at times last season.

The 24 year old former Athletic Bilbao man impressed on his debut, the 7-0 win over LA Galaxy and while he may not yet be at the level of the likes of Toni Kroos and Paul Pogba the ball-playing midfielder will develop further under the tutelage of Van Gaal.

Last season he averaged an impressive 3.5 tackles per match in 33 La Liga appearances with an equally impressive 2.6 shots on target. On paper the uncapped Spaniard looks like the box to box midfielder so desperately missing last season.

Shaw meanwhile will replace the departed Patrice Evra.

The Southampton left back arrives in Manchester as the most expensive teenager in world football. It is a huge moniker to place on a young player but again the experience and man management skills of Van Gaal will help him.

It would appear that man-management is the key at the moment around Old Trafford with Van Gaal drawing smiles and pre-season performances from two of his three attackers in the shape of Rooney and Mata while his Dutch talisman Robin Van Persie will be another happy to have a man he trusts in charge.

Reinvention and tinkering rather than outright change.

Antonio Valencia looks set to be reinvented as a wing-back, something that won’t trouble the Ecuadorian, often used as a right back under Sir Alex and Moyes, too much with Van Gaal using the tour of the states to assess the players at this disposal.

A title win might be out of the question in his first season but do expect United to improve this season especially at home.

Also expect to see strong 15 goal plus seasons from Rooney and Van Persie, a return to possession football, attacking threats and if the game with Inter Milan is anything to go by, nice tika-taka football.

Trevor Keane is an Irish based sports writer and the author of Gaffers, 50 years of Irish Managers and Running through Walls, the Dave Langan Story.

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