I don’t think I’ve to state the things that he did wrong. His possession football was bland and important players like De Gea(Club Player of the Year for a third time running) and Carrick have said that they would leave rather than play for LVG according to British tabloid Mirror. But it’d be highly unfair to say that he left without improving the squad. Here’s why.
- Developed world class young talent
I honestly don’t think LVG got much credit for discovering Anthony Martial out of Monaco, if this was another coach like Guardiola, they’d have been wildly celebrated in the media(Nobody can get luckier than Guardiola though, Usually great managers make great players, but Messi clearly made him the best coach for some time). Martial has 14 goals and 5 assists which include a debut goal against L’pool, and an injury-time winner against Everton in FA cup semis. The teenager has been nothing short of a revelation at Old Trafford. Consider the fact, that every single time United need to make a transition from mid-field to final third they look upon a teenager who came to the club just this year. Martial is LVG’s gift to United.
Marcus Rashford absolutely burst into the scenes with a brace against Arsenal in his PL debut and went on to score 7 goals and 2 assists in his 13 appearances for United. To beat Cech twice in his debut is impressive even enough for a united youngster.
Rashford’s direct running, close control, dribbling and instinctive finishing means he’s a genuine threat, This is a kid that got into the head of Demichelis after he was clearly too much for the experienced Argentinian at Old Trafford. So far Rashford’s informal CV would include ruining Arsenal’s title challenge, effectively finishing Demichelis career, knocking out West ham out of FA cup and effectively relegating Aston Villa, one time giants who would compete for top four. So far, so good.
Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett have clearly impressed but both will need more playing time to mature into first teamers and play alongside with Chris Smalling. Varela seems to play for fun and he does it really well. Though the biggest name in this column would be dedicated to Timothy Fosu Mensah. Not only has he impressed, he clearly is the future of defensive mid in United. Good at the tackle, boundless energy, and decent finishing. Yaya Toure anybody? He’ll have to be consistent, though.
2. Improved certain players
It’s fair to say that The United defender owes LVG his career, before LVG’s career hadn’t been very progressive. Fergie thought that Smalling read the game well and had the capacity to become captain probably after Vidic and take up the defensive mantle. Smalling didn’t quite make the transition until LVG arrived. This season in particular Smalling has stepped up and taken up the duty to organize the defense. Smalling has made 1.6 tackles, 2.8 interceptions and an impressive 5.1 clearances per match. The fact that his partner Daley blind who’s weak, slow and a make-shift defender clearly shows Smalling’s feat this season. Smalling is strong in the tackle, and good at making those last ditch tackles. He is United and England’s first choice CB for some time now.
Before LVG took over, Fellaini clearly divided opinion. Some wanted to sell him, and others wanted to kill him. All that has changed with LVG. Using Fellaini to settle important ties, showed sometimes why LVG was a tactical genius. The way Fellaini kept Fabregas in shackles in Chelsea’s first visit to Old Trafford since LVG took over showed class. Fabregas was form player, but he was well restricted by Fella. Fella also managed to score several important aerial goals. He remained United’s genuine aerial threat alongside with Smalling for LVG’s period. Fellaini has rarely disappointed since LVG took over, or rather has less disappointed.
Jese Lingard is not an exceptional footballer and has been largely ignored for more than 4 years by both Fergie, Moyes and LVG in his first season. But he does have a decent finish. His goals against City and Palace in the most important FA cup final prove that. But this is a forward who is poor in crossing and playing him in flanks didn’t make much sense. LVG being LVG got good performances out of Lingard by regularly making him shift positions with Rashford/Rooney/Martial as and when required and the Englishman did fine. 6 goals and 3 assists doesn’t sit too bad for his breakthrough season. How Mou will use him will be interesting.
Kept United among the English elite
This is not as easy as it sounds especially after United’s 7th place finish the previous season. LVG’s first season didn’t result in a trophy but was a resounding success. His all attack side fascinated the fans and his philosophy sat well with players and fans. Particularly in the last few matches of his first season, United dispatched Spurs, Liverpool, Everton, and City. Also, United won 6 games in a row, becoming the only EPL team to do so.
In his second season, he became more cautious and adopted the possession-based approach. This didn’t sit well with fans and players as the results were not there. December, in particular, was devilish with no wins secured for the Dutch master. United were dumped out of both European competitions and failed to secure UCL for next season. Nonetheless LVG quits like a rock star with an FA cup in his hands.
Farewell LVG, you gave us moments to laugh, the speech, your comments on sex/masochism and of course you made united players horny. Moment to cheer, showing City who’s the boss on head to head matches, the FA cup. You did a better job than most would have, good luck and have a great retirement.