Michigan: Darren Fletcher and David de Gea have revealed the impact that new manager Louis van Gaal has already had on Manchester United. United have impressed in pre-season, reaching the final of the International Champions Cup in the United States after a 3-1 victory over Real Madrid on Saturday.
That was the latest sign of improvement under Van Gaal, who officially replaced David Moyes at Old Trafford last month.
A US record crowd of 109,318 watched United's new manager rack up his fourth win of the summer thanks to two goals from Ashley Young and another from substitute Javier Hernandez.
The Dutchman has already stamped his authority on the squad ahead of the 2014-15 season — signing Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw for over 52.5 million euros — with United looking to recover from a turbulent campaign which saw them finish seventh and miss out on European football.
And Fletcher believes they are already showing signs of improvement.
"Van Gaal demands a lot, but the players are responding to to it and enjoying playing in the new system and playing under him," said the Scotland international. "We've got a fantastic team spirit — we were talking about it last night amongst ourselves.
"We're all close and we're all pulling in the right direction and we all want the best for Manchester United. We're disappointed with where we finished in the league last season and as a a result of that Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea, they all finished above of us.
"We're disappointed but next season we want to show what we're capable of and hopefully we can can do that."
That is a sentiment echoed by De Gea, with the Spain goalkeeper revealing that Van Gaal's arrival has already had a significant impact on the mentality within the squad.
"He (van Gaal) is hard when he has to be. Really, he has surprised me," said De Gea.
"He is a great head coach and he is providing the team with a very good character. You can see it so far. I think we are totally different from last season."