Van Gaal's system gives Manchester United possession, not goals – Scholes

The Red Devils legend believes the Dutchman’s tactics removes the wing threat that underpinned the success of the Sir Alex Ferguson era in favour of keeping the ball

Paul Scholes believes Louis van Gaal’s divisive 3-5-2 system is helping Manchester United keep the ball but stunting their ability to score goals this season.

Van Gaal has reverted back to the formation that worked with Netherlands in last summer’s World Cup since arriving at Old Trafford, despite a perceived lack of quality or numbers at centre-back.

United lie fourth in the Premier League, having scored a respectable 34 goals in 21 games this season, but the illustrious trio of Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao have scored just 19 between them, while no one in Van Gaal’s squad has yet reached double figures.

On Sunday Southampton claimed their first league victory at Old Trafford in 27 years despite enjoying just a 39 per cent share of possession, with Dusan Tadic scoring from the only shot on target for either side.

And Scholes is adamant that Van Gaal’s persistence with the 3-5-2 is responsible for the disparity between possession and goal threat, arguing it deprives United of the wing attacks that traditionally makes them so dangerous.

“In a 3-5-2 formation, that width is just not there for United,” the former Red Devils midfielder wrote in a column for the Evening Standard.

“Luke Shaw is an orthodox left-back being asked to play wing-back. Antonio Valencia has lost some of that great pace he once had, and it is more difficult for him to get past players when his starting position is so deep.

“There is no doubt that 3-5-2 helps you keep the ball. The three centre-halves and the three central midfielders can pass it around to their heart’s content. The problem comes when you try to hurt teams in attacking areas.

“You can have all the possession you like, but if you are not creating “2 vs 1″ situations where you outnumber your opposition and get behind them, then you are not going to score enough goals.”

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