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Manchester United head into the 2014/15 season knowing things can only get better after an awful previous campaign.
The appointment of Louis Van Gaal has lifted the club, however the Dutchman has a real task on his hands to guide United back to the top.
An improvement on last season’s seventh placed finish is an absolute must for the 2012/13 champions
Pre-season has been positive for Manchester United, as they thrashed the LA Galaxy as well as a morale boosting win over A.S Roma.
Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw have been signed so far, although United fans will be hopeful that there are more to come through the Old Trafford doors.
The likes of Arturo Vidal and Juan Cuadrado have been heavily linked with moves, both of whom would make excellent additions.
Van Gaal has claimed he still wants to add at least one defender, with Manchester United losing experience in the back line.
The trio of Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra all left the club, having played an incredible part in the recent history of Manchester United.
Ins – Ander Herrera (Athletic Bilbao), Luke Shaw (Southampton)
Outs – Federico Macheda (Cardiff), Jack Barmby (Leicester City), Rio Ferdinand (QPR), Ryan Giggs (Retired), Nemanja Vidic (Inter), Alex Buttner (Dynamo Moscow), Patrice Evra (Juventus)
Last season David Moyes was given a nightmare start, however the same certainly can’t be said for Van Gaal.
United start at home to Swansea, before a trip to the Stadium of Light is followed up by the three sides promoted from the Championship.
Given Manchester United have no European football this season, an excellent start is needed if they are to seriously challenge for the title.
First five games: Swansea (H), Sunderland (A), Burnley (A), QPR (H), Leicester (A)
Key player: Juan Mata
Van Gaal has played a 3-4-1-2 formation during pre-season, which if Manchester United continue with, will get the best from Juan Mata.
The club record signing was consistently found out on the wing last season and he will be desperate to play in his preferred position.
The Old Trafford faithful saw glimpses of his ability in his six months at the club and a good season from Mata will get United close to their goals.
Manchester United fans will certainly take a top four finish this campaign given how dramatic their fall from grace last season was.
Realistically that is the minimum requirement for Van Gaal in his first year at the club, however they may need to add a couple more faces!