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Five Reasons Why Manchester United's Defeat to Swansea Could Be the Best Result for the Red Devils

19/08/2014 17:11 BST | Updated 19/10/2014 10:59 BST

Louis van Gaal's first foray into competitive Premier League football ended in disappointing fashion on Saturday afternoon as he watched his team slide to a 2-1 defeat to Swansea City.

The doom and gloom of last season returned to Old Trafford as the Red Devils lost their league opener at home for the first time since 1972. The weekend's result has reaffirmed the difficult challenge facing van Gaal and a return to Champions League football will not be as simple as some may have hoped.

However, despite the initial sadness in defeat, Saturday's disappointment could be the best result for Louis van Gaal and Manchester United.

Here are five reasons why Swansea's victory at Old Trafford could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the Red Devils this season...

5. Louis van Gaal Must Work His Magic

The honeymoon period for Louis van Gaal and United came to a swift end on Saturday afternoon as the Dutch boss received a disheartening welcome to the Premier League.

After a hugely successful pre-season, the former Netherlands coach claimed his side's confidence had been 'smashed' by the defeat to Swansea.

Fortunately for United fans, rough starts are a familiar feature of van Gaal's managerial career and the Dutchman is aware it will take time for his team to adapt and play to his philosophy.

Saturday's result will have underlined the scale of van Gaal's challenge at United and defeat will undoubtedly provide extra motivation for the Dutchman to get things right as quickly as possible.

Van Gaal has described his team as 'a work in progress' and whilst we are likely to hear the same line several times over the next few months, the Dutchman will demand a rapid rate of improvement from his team.

4. A Dose of Reality for Some United Fans

After the hysterical hullabaloo surrounding Louis van Gaal's arrival and impressive pre-season campaign, Swansea served a dose of reality to United supporters in Saturday's fixture.

Whilst a banner heralding the Dutchman's arrival has yet to be unravelled in the Theatre of Dreams, some Manchester United supporters entered the season expecting van Gaal to be holding the Premier League trophy aloft come May.

A blistering start to the Premier League campaign could have ushered in a period of false-arrogance at United, but Swansea have quickly quashed any belief that the route back to elite European football would be an easy stroll.

Van Gaal and his team may yet realise the dreams of many Manchester United supporters this season, but patience and a sense of pragmatism will be required if supporters are to remain realistic about the team's ambitions this year.

3. Captain Rooney to Thrive in United Low-Point

Having endured the worst Premier League season of his Manchester United career, newly-appointed captain Wayne Rooney will be desperate to recreate the success he has become accustomed to at Old Trafford over the past 10 years.

Saturday's result will again serve as a reminder to Rooney of the challenge he and his team-mates face this season and the importance for him to become an influential figure on the pitch and in the dressing room.

Captaincy can often bring out the best in players and Rooney is likely to thrive under the pressure of wearing the armband.

The Swansea defeat will hurt the England international and Rooney will be determined to drag his team out of the mire they currently find themselves in.

Having already scored one goal and coming close to a second, it wouldn't be a massive surprise if Captain Rooney enjoys one of his most prolific seasons in the 2014/15 campaign.

2. Youth Will Have a Part to Play

Since taking over the reigns at Old Trafford, one notable feature of Louis van Gaal's approach to rebuilding Manchester United has been his fondness for promoting youth.

Young players featured heavily in the tour of the US and two made their Premier League bows on Saturday against Swansea.

Tyler Blackett and Jesse Lingard's performances were not the greatest debuts in Manchester United history, but both played relatively well in unfamiliar positions.

Van Gaal has embraced United's tradition of blooding young talent and in turn has installed a great sense of trust in the young academy graduates.

Whilst the youngsters might not be the answer to the Red Devils' problems at present, van Gaal's decision to include youth ensures the longevity of the Dutchman's legacy at United.

Blackett and Lingard may not have enjoyed the result on their debut, but the experience will be of benefit to the pair and their club in the future.

1. High Quality Signings Are a Must

If Manchester United's money men were unsure whether it was necessary to splash the cash in the last few weeks of the transfer window, then the defeat to Swansea will have convinced all at the club that they will need to spend big before the start of September.

An unbeaten pre-season tour may have masked the flaws in van Gaal's new-look United, but Swansea provided the Red Devils with a firm reminder that Premier League success will require a wealth of talented and experienced players.

Creativity, strength and power seem to be the main areas of weakness for van Gaal's team and whilst the Dutchman has been fairly quiet about his transfer targets, he will be eager to bring in high quality reinforcements.

Di Maria, Vidal and Hummels have all been linked with big money moves to Old Trafford, but none have yet made the switch.

United's lethargy in the transfer market last season proved to be their downfall and it is highly unlikely they will make the same mistake twice.

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