Louis Van Gaal Must Show Signs of Progress at Burnley After MK Dons Defeat

Rob Dawson@@RobDawsonMENManchester United CorrespondentAugust 27, 2014

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND - AUGUST 26:  Manager Louis van Gaal of Manchester United despairs with assistant Ryan Giggs during the Capital One Cup Second Round match between MK Dons and Manchester United at Stadium mk on August 26, 2014 in Milton Keynes, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

After the humiliation at MK Dons, a trip to Turf Moor on Saturday promises a new beginning for Manchester United and Louis van Gaal. Yes, another one.

There have been false starts against Swansea in the first game of the season. And against Sunderland, when Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata were reunited. And against MK Dons, a game that should have brought Van Gaal his first win.

Each game promised to be different. But the results have been worryingly similar. The performances have not been much better.

Against Burnley on Saturday afternoon, Van Gaal should introduce Marcos Rojo and Angel Di Maria for the first time, the two players signed on his watch.

MADRID, SPAIN - AUGUST 19:  Angel di Maria (R) of Real Madrid shoots past Raul Garcia of Club Atletico de Madrid during the Supercopa first leg match between Real Madrid and Club Atletico de Madrid at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on August 19, 2014 in Madrid
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

They are the two players you can say with certainty Van Gaal wanted this summer. It follows then, perhaps for the first time, that United fans might see his team start to take shape.

At nearly £60 million, Di Maria is the Dutchman's star. He has to be. For that fee, and the wages he'll be collecting, Van Gaal must find a way to get the best out of him.

This weekend is the first chance to show he knows how.

The start to this season has been far worse than the start to the last, when David Moyes beat Swansea on the opening day of the season and Liverpool in the third round of the Capital One Cup.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - JULY 09: Daryl Janmaat of the Netherlands controls the ball against Marcos Rojo of Argentina during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Semi Final match between the Netherlands and Argentina at Arena de Sao Paulo on July 9, 2014 in Sao Paul
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Van Gaal, though, is not under any pressure yet. He has something Moyes never did: A track record of success.

He also has a record of slow starts, something he offered up voluntarily during the tour of the United States. 

It was easy to think then that he was being overly cautious, having guided United to wins over Roma, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Liverpool.

It would seem now he was just being honest.

He has also insisted he will turn things around. And he can point to his time at Bayern Munich, where he failed to win any of his first three games but ended the season with a league and cup double, as proof. 

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - AUGUST 04: (L) Ryan Giggs and manager of Manchester United Louis Van Gaal sit on the bench prior to the game against Liverpool in the Guinness International Champions Cup 2014 Final at Sun Life Stadium on August 4, 2014 in Miami Garden
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

But three months is a long time. Especially when there are seven teams eyeing four Champions League places.

The fans are still happy to be patient while Van Gaal gets things in order. But they will want to see progress. Or, at the very least, signs of improvement.

With Rojo and Di Maria available, plus Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Juan Mata, United will field a team at Burnley that will at least have Van Gaal's fingerprints on it.

It's another new start in a summer of new starts. Perhaps this is the one that will start to bear fruit and the new era can finally get underway.


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