Michael Owen says Manchester United still lack identity under Louis van Gaal

Former Manchester United striker Michael Owen believes Louis van Gaal failed to find an identity in his team during what he viewed to be an indifferent first season as the club´s manager.

A fourth-place finish in the Premier League was viewed as an acceptable campaign for Van Gaal and his team as they secured a place in the Champions League playoff round, but Owen suggested Van Gaal has much to prove in his second campaign as United boss.

The striker, who won the Premier League title with United in the 2012-13 season, believes Van Gaal's success in guiding United back into the Champions League was not an achievement worthy of lavish praise.

"I thought it was a disappointing season for Manchester United," Owen told ESPN FC. "They were knocked out of the cup competition with ease and a little embarrassment if we look at the MK Dons defeat in the Capital One Cup.

"They didn't have Champions League football to distract them, yet they sneaked into fourth place after spending so much money last summer.

"They were not comparable to the Man United teams we have come to expect under Sir Alex Ferguson and I just don't know how they are going to perform in the Premier League and Champions League next season, assuming they get through the playoff.

"If they had started the season poorly and got better through to the end, you might think they are moving forward, but I still don't know what their identity is. I still don't know what type of team they are.

"Are they meant to have flying wingers, are they meant to be strong in midfield? What is a Louis van Gaal Man United team?"

Owen went on to reflect that the uncertainty over the makeup of United´s forward line makes it tough to assess how they will perform next season, with Radamel Falcao no longer part of Van Gaal's squad after an unsuccessful season on loan from Monaco, while doubts persist over the future of Robin van Persie at United.

"They are going to have some issues in the striking position," he added. "Falcao has gone, Robin van Persie is on the wane and then what? Wayne Rooney is a reliable goal threat, but he is not going to be around forever.

"They have a huge void up front and after letting Danny Welbeck go. You quickly realise they need to spend a whole lot more to compete and they have already spent a lot since Van Gaal arrived."