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RONNIE'S DARK HORSE

MANCHESTER UNITED

DARK horse is probably the wrong description for Manchester United but given how truly awful they were for most of last season, it is difficult to place them in any other category even though Luis van Gaal is clearly made of the right stuff.

He has buckets of Dutch arrogance to go with his big CV and already, he looks like a good fit for Old Trafford.

Remember this time last year? Alex Ferguson quit, David Moyes was thrust into the spotlight and froze. There's no sign that van Gaal will be worried about the size of the task ahead.

I don't expect him to doff the cap to Ferguson either. Van Gaal probably rates himself above Old Trafford's most successful and influential figure anyway.

For Manchester United to have any chance of winning the title in his first season, they must hit the ground running and on the evidence of pre-season, he's building nicely towards that.

But I wonder about his preference for three at the back. I watched Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans play the shape in America and for half an hour against Liverpool, they didn't know what they were doing.

If van Gaal wants to persist with it, he may look to buy in someone who knows what he's after but this is all part of what he described as a three month, bedding in period. It will take time for players to adjust to him.

Van Gaal has been less than active in the transfer market and I'm surprised by this. There's a still a few weeks to go yet and midfield seems like a particularly obvious area he must strengthen. Ander Herrera will help but he needs better players than he inherited.

Despite all of that - I have a sneaking suspicion that this man will be the story of the season and in nine months' time, they'll be there or thereabouts.


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