London - Manchester United top the Premier League spending charts but after a dismal start to life under Louis van Gaal they badly need to beat promoted Burnley on Saturday.
The arrival of Argentine winger Angel di Maria from Real Madrid for a British-record £59.7 million took their spending this transfer window to over £130m but, as Van Gaal knows, splashing the cash is no guarantee of success.
The experienced Dutchman has yet to register a competitive victory, picking up one point from two league games and suffering an embarrassing 4-0 League Cup thrashing at third-tier MK Dons on Tuesday.
United’s name was missing from the Champions League draw after last season’s seventh-place finish, compounding the gloom around Old Trafford, and although Van Gaal insists it will take time for the squad to adjust to his methods, rapid improvement is required at Turf Moor.
“Our problem is when we have the ball,” Van Gaal told reporters.
“We have to build up the play and we have to improve that. So I don’t think our defence is weak - no, our build-up is still not good enough and we shall improve that, but that needs time.”
United are missing Michael Carrick, Shinji Kagawa and Luke Shaw through injury, while Marcos Rojo is still unavailable as he has yet to receive a work permit.
Burnley manager Sean Dyche, without a point from matches against Chelsea and Swansea City, said it was important not to get caught up in the interest surrounding Di Maria, who is expected to play.
“They have made a lot of changes and a lot of the attention will be on them this weekend.
“That’s no disrespect to ourselves because there is an outside view of us being written off by the bookies, etc,” said Dyche, who has spent less than £5m on strengthening his squad for life in the top flight.
“Clubs being talked about in higher regard than our own is something we will get used to over the season, not for vicious reasons.”