Louis Van Gaal Angel Di Maria Manchester United
Louis Van Gaal will hope Angel Di Maria provides the inspiration Manchester United so desperately needReuters

A nightmare couple of weeks are done and dusted, and all Manchester United can do now is move forward and hope the results pick up. The latest team that will try to inflict another damaging defeat on the Red Devils will be Burnley, when the newly-promoted side host Manchester United on Saturday in the English Premier League.

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Louis Van Gaal would now have fully realised the magnitude of the task at hand, after seeing his United side tumble to an opening day defeat in the Premier League to Swansea City, before stuttering to a draw at Sunderland.

Matters only exacerbated when MK Dons, a side playing in League One, embarrassed the former Premier League champions 4-0 in the Capital One Cup second round on Tuesday.

Van Gaal did make ten changes to the side that suffered the humiliating defeat, but all it did was highlight the problems at hand for United at the moment. The only way to solve those issues is by picking up wins, and a handsome three points against Burnley will do for a start.

"I never doubt myself," said Van Gaal. "We have made steps in our process. This process needs time. We are building up a new team and I hope we will succeed. I hope we are in the top four this season and then, the next step, is to be the champions and then, the next step, is to be the winners of the Champions League. That takes time.

"Of course, I am a trainer-coach who is used to being in the Champions League so, for me, it is also a little bit strange that we are not in it. We shall work very hard to be in it next season."

While it is still way too early in the season to judge Manchester United, another failure to pick up maximum points at the third time of asking in the Premier League, will only strengthen the doubts within the team that maybe they will struggle to finish in the top four again, after only managing a seventh-place finish last season.

Van Gaal also desperately needs to address the defence, which has been shocking, to put it kindly. The 3-5-2 formation has not worked as well as the Dutchman would have hoped, with individual mistakes and poor positional play costing United goals time and again.

The midfield is also a point of worry, and Van Gaal certainly has not been helped by the plethora of early season injuries, which has limited his options considerably. Shinji Kagawa joined the growing injury list, which already includes Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera, Marouane Fellaini, Michael Carrick and Jesse Lingard, after suffering a minor concussion in the loss to Milton Keynes Dons.

Kagawa might have not been available even if he was fit, though, with widespread reports suggesting the Japan international is on his way back to Borussia Dortmund. Van Gaal will also have to do without the services of new signing Marcos Rojo, who is yet to gain a work permit, but record signing Angel Di Maria is expected to make his debut.

It will be interesting to see just how Di Maria is used by Van Gaal, while it will also be important not to put too much pressure on the £60 million man to turn United's fortunes around single-handedly.

At the other end, you have Burnley, who have struggled to come to terms with the Premier League so far, losing both their opening games of the season. They were outclassed by Chelsea in the opening weekend at Turf Moor, before Swansea handed Sean Dyche's side a 1-0 defeat last Saturday.

There probably is no better time to play United than right now, and Dyche, who will be without Sam Vokes and Cameron Dummigan, will hope his side can rise to the occasion and give the home fans something to cheer about.

"Whether they are under pressure or not, it will only be shown when the whistle blows as the rest of it is opinion, perception and conjecture," said Dyche. "That's when two teams come together and ours will be ready, organised and certainly fit enough, we know that.

"We want to play with quality and give a performance that can win. I can't worry too much about the opposition, we have to make the players aware of it tactically of course.

"But we have to look at ourselves and not get involved in what is going on at Manchester United."

Expected lineups: Burnley: Heaton; Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee; Arfield, Marney, Jones, Taylor; Jutkiewicz, Ings.

Manchester United: De Gea; Jones, Evans, Blackett; Valencia, Di Maria, Fletcher, Young; Mata; Van Persie, Rooney.

Prediction: 2-1 to Manchester United

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