Sure, Van Gaal’s tactical brilliance should have worked. The spark which was enough to beat Real Madrid and Liverpool on foreign turf should have been enough to dispose Swansea in the Theatre of Dreams. For many, the hopes crashed down already.
But Louis Van Gaal might have received a blessing in disguise. After beating Real Madrid and Liverpool, the mountain of expectations was growing at an alarming rate and Van Gaal was running out of breathing space. That is the thing with emotional fans: they expect magic overnight. Look at how much Liverpool had to wait to get their game going again.
Manchester United is a seasoned old club. They now have a very shrewd manager who might remind us of Old Fergie. He has this aura about him that can make the players want to perform. Did you not see a transformation in Young? Or the way Shaw has fit in? Van Gaal has had a positive impact already. Herrera is playing brilliantly in the midfield as well.
But the loss against Swansea was a reminder that a lot of work remains to be done. With Fabregas and Costa lifting Chelsea, Liverpool with their new and strong squad, Manchester City and their financial muscle and lastly Arsenal with their smart signings are going to push Manchester United to the end. Just bringing a good manager does not work. He needs to plot a come-back. Come backs are never easy. But then, Manchester United are thought of as ‘Come-back kings’ too.
Let the first game be a ‘steam releaser’ and help Van Gaal ease off the burden of expectations.