Manchester United must work on different aspects of their game to be fully ready for the upcoming Premier League season. Their US preseason tour has made it evident that Manchester United players are still getting used to the Dutch coach.
Holding Midfield Needs Strengthening
Tom Cleverly has failed to gain any confidence in the preseason, and his passing has looked shaky at best. With Marouane Fellaini possibly set to move on, and Darren Fletcher and Michael Carrick not getting any younger, the holding midfield position needs to be strengthened.
Defense is the Main Area where United Needs Improvement
As with most seasons, it is defense where United are most wanting. From the get go they were found out against Roma last Saturday. Long balls over the top and through balls created several chances for the Italian side.
United played a high line with a 5-3-2 formation, and neither Sam Johnstone nor Ben Amos in goal felt the need to get to the ball before the forward. That is something Van Gaal will have to communicate with De Gea before the season starts. In order for a highline to be effective, the goalie must be prepared to charge out of his box.
Besides tactical work, in order to strengthen the backline, United need to sign a quality defender. The likes of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones often prove inconsistent, and on Saturday, both failed to distribute the ball out of the back effectively.
At the wing-back position, both Valencia and Ashley Young looked much more like wingers than fullbacks. They were often caught out of position and mistimed tackles. On the bright side, at least Van Gaal has already signed Luke Shaw to improve the defense.
How will United Fare this Season?
With all these areas still needing improvement, right now I think United are good enough to challenge for a fourth placed spot. Their attack and goalkeeper could carry them into the Champions League, but if they want to be challenging for titles again, they still need to sign more players- especially defenders.