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Argentina's battle of Manchester

FC United 17 hours ago
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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff
Jul 26, 2014

Juan Mata expects 'dangerous' United

Louis van Gaal started his reign as Manchester United manager by changing the shape of the squad in their 7-0 thrashing of the L.A. Galaxy.

Juan Mata has warned that Manchester United's new tactical approach will make them "very dangerous" this season.

- Van Gaal questions kickoff time
- Rooney wants to be captain
- Cleverley confident under Van Gaal
- Garcia: Strootman staying put

Having utilised a 3-5-2 formation during the World Cup as he led Netherlands to the semifinals, new United boss Louis van Gaal is planning to adopt a similar approach at Old Trafford.

There were promising signs when United thrashed LA Galaxy 7-0 on Wednesday and, ahead of Saturday's friendly with Roma in Denver, Mata said: "It can be very dangerous for the opponent. It is difficult for them to play against us in this formation."

The tactics should allow Mata to operate in his favoured central position, after spending time out wide for both Chelsea and United last season.

Juan Mata is hoping to play behind the strikers for United this season.

"If I play behind the two strikers it's a good position -- I can look for the ball, I can try to assist or score, so I will try my best," he said. "I will try to score as much as I can and try to help the team from that position.

"If I have to play on the wing I will try my best as well but I feel comfortable in this role."

United winger Ashley Young also backed the 3-5-2 formation after its first test run, telling MUTV: "It was fluid. There was a lot of space for us to get on the ball and LA Galaxy were not able to cope with that.

"We tried it in training and we have tried it in a match scenario. This will be the formation we take going forward."

He added: "I am not giving away too many ideas. When we defend, we defend as a team; when we attack, we attack as a team. The players are interchangeable. As the season progresses we will be looking to get balls into attacking areas to get goals. We saw that by the fact we managed to score seven times."

Roma boss Rudi Garcia acknowledged that Van Gaal's tactics are giving him something to think about ahead of the meeting in Denver.

"What I'm very interested in is that they changed their formation," he said. "It's going to be a nice challenge for us to trouble them and defend effectively against this kind of formation."

Garcia has said new signing Ashley Cole is set to face United.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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