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I am not a fan of Manchester United's 3-5-2 formation: Gary Neville

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3.60K   //    20 Jan 2015, 14:10 IST
Gary Neville believes the 3-5-2 formation favoured by Louis van Gaal makes them defensive

Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville has come out in support of the club’s fans, who have asked manager Louis van Gaal to opt for a more attacking formation in the games.

Van Gaal has persisted with his favoured 3-5-2 formation for the most part of his first season at Old Trafford and he got a fair idea of what the fans think of that on Saturday, when prior to Marouane Fellaini’s opening goal against Queens Park Rangers, there were constant chants of "4-4-2, 4-4-2" and "attack, attack" .

The 39-year-old feels that the fans’ displeasure is more out of impatience rather than disappointment and added that he himself wasn't a big fan of the 3-5-2 formation.

"It's more impatience than unhappiness [from the United fans]. They haven't been taking risks in the 3-5-2 system and in the first 57 minutes at QPR there were no goals, only five shots, four on target and 68 percent possession,” Neville told Sky Sports.

"Then, when they go to the back four, there's less possession but goals, more shots and generally a far better performance from them in the last half hour. It's partly the system, but it's a mentality thing as well. I'm not a fan of 3-5-2. When you play that, you end up with your centre backs being the free men and that becomes a careful option, then it kicks into your mentality - “I've always got a safer pass”," Neville added.

The tempo is too slow with three defenders: Gary Neville

The former England international, who played 602 games for the club, across all competitions in a 19-year long career, also feels that the Red Devils need to increase the pace at which they are playing and added that the defenders are having far too much ball possession.

"They play the ball out from the back -- as most good teams would -- but the tempo is too slow.They play too many passes. Those back three players are on the ball far too much.

“In the first half on Saturday, Manchester United centre-backs had 114 passes of the ball. You look at the other teams that played away from home this weekend, Southampton [57], Chelsea [37], Arsenal [26] and it's a miraculous difference.

"When they go to the back four in the second half it goes to 54 passes. It's a big difference. They started looking at diagonal passes, playing risky ones, making QPR work and doing things that are unpredictable," he added.

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