Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has defended the opinion of the cluba s supporters, and insists that manager Louis van Gaala s favored 3-5-2 formation has made the side slow.
The Red Devils lined up with three central defenders against Queen Park Rangers on Saturday, but failed to breakdown Harry Redknappa s side resulting in a disappointing first half.
A pocket of away fans at Loftus Road were heard chanting strategic advice to the Dutch manager, as they were shouting for a change to 4-4-2 urging the team to attack.
Van Gaal seemingly took their advice and brought in James Wilson for Jonny Evans to deploy a more traditional back four in the opening minutes of the second half, and was instantly rewarded after substitute Marouane Fellainia s strike gave them the lead in the 57th minute followed by Wilsona s goal in injury time, as the side bagged an important three points
And Neville believes that the fans are right to criticize the managera s tactics and feels that the 3-5-2 formation doesn’t allow the players to take risks and lacked energy, focusing more on possession rather than on creating chances.
a Ita s more impatience than unhappiness (from the United fans)a , the former English international told Sky Sports.
a They play the ball out from the back a as most good teams would a but the tempo is too slow.
a They havena t been taking risks in the 3-5-2 system and in the first 57 minutes at QPR there were no goals, only five shots, four on target and 68% possession.
a Then, when they go to the back four, therea s less possession but goals, more shots and generally a far better performance from them in the last half houra , he further explained.
a Ita s partly the system but ita s a mentality thing as well. Ia m not a fan of 3-5-2, when you play that, you end up with your centre-backs being the free men and that becomes a careful option, then it kicks into your mentality: a Ia ve always got a safer passa .a
Neville also felt that the teama s defenders failed to pose any real threat on the opposition and were more interested in passing the ball among themselves.
a They play too many passes. Those back three players are on the ball far too mucha , the 39-year-old said.
a In the first half on Saturday, Manchester United centre-backs had 114 passes of the ball. You look at the other teams that played away from home this weekend, Southampton (57), Chelsea (37), Arsenal (26) and ita s a miraculous difference.
a When they go to the back four in the second half it goes to 54 passes. Ita s a big difference. They started looking at diagonal passes, playing risky ones, making QPR work and doing things that are unpredictablea , he continued.