Manchester United just lifted the International Champions Cup trophy after a 3-1 comeback victory against Premier League rival Liverpool. The first half wasn’t the prettiest for United, but a complete shift of momentum allowed them to make life ever so difficult for their opponent, hence winning their first title under new manager Louis van Gaal.
The former Netherlands coach recently enjoyed defeating Brazil in the third place game of the World Cup. Like he enforced during the tournament, he has already taught his new team to play in a 5-3-2 formation which has enabled the club to defend and attack in numbers. He puts fast-paced and skillful players in the wingback positions so they could run up and down the field throughout the matches. Two strikers and three midfielders have to know how to play off one another and not be afraid to pass the ball to the back line. Louis van Gaal had little to no time to teach this method and yet the team is performing nearly to perfection.
Wayne Rooney was named captain earlier tonight, and for good reason, as he ran the offense with his slick and smart passing while also scoring the equalizer off of an exquisite finish from a tough angle. He seems to have come alive under van Gaal as his old form seems to be back. His sensationally confident rocket against Roma to his ability to orchestrate all around the midfield has even added to his game. As number 10, he should be named captain this season.
United has replicated the game plan of the Dutch national team by dominating long periods of games, shifting momentum, using numbers on and off the ball, calmly passing and building from the back, finding several holes on the counter and playing with a confidence that has been nowhere to be found since Sir Alex Ferguson departed. This team can easily win the Premier League, especially since there will be no European competition slowing them down.