Football: Van Gaal sticking with 3-5-2 tactics despite 4-4-2 success

Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal looking on during the Barclays Premier League game against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road in West London, Britain, on Jan 17, 2015. A change of formation helped Manchester United to a 2-0 win over QPR
Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal looking on during the Barclays Premier League game against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road in West London, Britain, on Jan 17, 2015. A change of formation helped Manchester United to a 2-0 win over QPR on Saturday but van Gaal says he has no plans for a permanent switch to 4-4-2. -- PHOTO: EPA

LONDON (REUTERS) - A change of formation transformed a tepid football performance into a 2-0 win for Manchester United at Queens Park Rangers in the English Premier League on Saturday but manager Louis van Gaal says he has no plans for a permanent switch to 4-4-2.

The Dutchman has employed a 3-5-2 formation, with which he guided the Netherlands to a third-placed finish at last year's World Cup, since taking over at Old Trafford in the close season. But an indifferent start to the campaign for the 20-time English champion has been punctuated by defensive frailties and a lack of creative flair as the team have struggled to adapt to the new system.

United supporters made their feelings known about van Gaal's tactics after a laboured performance in the goalless first-half at struggling QPR, chanting "attack, attack, attack" and "four-four-two".

The manager changed the team's shape at the interval, which brought a greater attacking impetus from the visitors and goals from substitutes Marouane Fellaini and James Wilson were enough to secure victory. Van Gaal, though, says he will continue to use varying formation as he tries to strike the right balance for his fourth-placed team.

"I know in advance that when we play with four midfielders in a diamond that we create more chances, but then the balance of the team is also weak," he said. "And you've seen it because we had created chances but so had QPR.

"We have to decide every week how we have to play. And that's the question.

"In the first half, we played like QPR wanted. We did the same thing as QPR, playing through the air, long balls, and QPR were better.

"In the second half, we changed the shape and that helped also."

United are 12 points adrift of league leaders Chelsea and visit fourth-tier Cambridge United in the FA Cup fourth round on Friday.