Jonny Evans says players finding it difficult to adjust to Van Gaal’s tactics

But defender says changes will make the team stronger in the long run

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal: has described his approach as being to retrain players to think rather than act on instinct.  Photo: Martin Rickett/PA

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal: has described his approach as being to retrain players to think rather than act on instinct. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA

 

The Northern Irishman returned to the team after more than a fortnight out with a foot injury for Tuesday’s FA Cup victory over Cambridge United.

The 3-0 win over the League Two minnows took United through to face League One’s Preston North End in the fifth round and United are third in the Premier League despite an uneven campaign.

Van Gaal – who has been charged by the Football Association over comments he made following his side’s FA Cup fourth-round goalless draw at Cambridge last month – has described his approach as being to retrain players to think rather than act on instinct and there have also been differing formations.

Evans said: “The lads have taken a lot on board. At times it has been tough and it takes time. We’ve been used to playing a certain way for a number of years then the change happens and he wants us to play a certain way. So it does take time for those things to become second nature. But you are starting to see that now.

“The fact that the formation has changed a lot has taught the lads an awful lot. Coming into games, if we do have any changes in formation I think it is a big plus for us to have. The fact we are using different formations against different teams can only benefit us in the long run.”

Win everything

“We’re the highest-ranked team left in the competition now. It was a bit of a shock sitting at home hearing the news that Chelsea and City had gone out. But we know from our own experiences all about upsets. Leeds came here a few years ago and beat us . . .”

United are five points behind second-placed Manchester City as they prepare for the trip to West Ham United on Sunday.

“West Ham is never an easy game at the best of times, never mind the fact that this season they have been on a great run and are playing with a lot of confidence,” said Evans.

Of the bid to secure a Champions League berth, he added: “We’d like to pull away but we know football doesn’t work like that. Arsenal have gone on a bit of a run, so have Liverpool - they are coming really strong. They are the big teams we will be looking out for. And obviously you have Spurs and West Ham while Southampton have been on a fantastic run.” Guardian Service

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