Confidence High at Manchester United Despite Lack of Major Summer Signings

Rob DawsonManchester United CorrespondentAugust 8, 2014

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JULY 17:  Louis van Gaal appears at a press conference as he is unveiled as the new Manchester United manager at Old Trafford on July 17, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

For the second summer in a row, Manchester United fans have expected big changes to the squad.

And for the second summer in a row, it hasn't really happened. They have signed Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw for a combined fee of nearly £60 million. 

But they still need at least one centre-back and another midfielder. Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward will work hard to make it happen before the transfer deadline.

But there's no guarantee.

It was a similar story a year ago. United were linked with a series of big names but ended up overpaying for Marouane Fellaini on deadline day. 

ANN ARBOR, MI - AUGUST 2: Ander Herrera #21 of Manchester United keeps the ball away from Gareth Bale #11 of Real Madrid during the first half of the Guinness International Champions Cup at Michigan Stadium on August 2, 2014, in Ann Arbor, Mich (Photo by
Duane Burleson/Getty Images

It was the start of a troubled season under David Moyes that ended with a seventh-place finish in the Premier League.

There is disappointment among the fans that the signings they wanted this summer haven't materialised, but there isn't the widespread panic that characterised last summer.

The reason for that? Louis van Gaal.

One summer might not be long enough to rebuild a squad. But it's plenty of time for the Dutchman to restore belief in players that have had their confidence battered and bruised.

BRASILIA, BRAZIL - JULY 11:  Head coach, Louis van Gaal (L) and Dirk Kuyt speak to the media during the Netherlands press conference prior to their 3rd Place Playoff match between the Netherlands and Brazil at the 2014 FIFA World Cup at the Estadio Nacion
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

There are still some very good players at Old Trafford. They didn't necessarily show it last season, but they are still a talented group.

And in his first three weeks in charge, Van Gaal has made sure they remember that. 

He talked a lot in the United States about rebuilding confidence. He said in Washington DC that players "under another manager are not the same as players under Louis van Gaal."

It was a nod to his ability to squeeze every last bit out of the players under his guidance. 

He showed as much at the World Cup when he took a modestly talented group—at least by the Netherlands' standards—and reached the World Cup semi-finals.

Paul Sancya/Associated Press

United are hoping to make up to two more signings before the transfer window closes. But the big name supporters are hoping for is unlikely to arrive.

Van Gaal, though, will not be too concerned. 

He's confident in his ability to get the best out of the players he already has. Especially when he's inherited a group so low on confidence.

Woodward, meanwhile, believes he's already made the signing of the summer—a new arrival who made a big impact in Brazil and is confident of doing something similar in the Premier League.

That signing? Louis van Gaal.

 

Quotes obtained firsthand.