Louis van Gaal explains his substitutions against Wolfsburg

by Sid Choudhary

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has revealed the reasoning behind the substitutions he made during his sides 2-1 victory over Wolfsburg.

The Reds had to come from behind to beat the German side and van Gaal came under some criticism from fans for the changes he made during the game. Man United found themselves holding on to ensure they took away three points from the game, after inviting pressure for the majority of the last quarter of an hour of the game.

After the removal of Bastian Schweinsteiger, United seemed to lose their shape and struggled to hold onto the ball. The 31-year-old was having one of his best games in a red shirt so far but with more 18 minutes left on the clock, van Gaal decided to replace him with Phil Jones, who slotted into defence alongside Chris Smalling.

The manager admitted after the match that he felt Schweinsteiger was beginning to tire, while Memphis Depay was having a similar problem. Van Gaal told manutd.com: “Schweinsteiger, he was tired I thought and that was the reason, because he also gave balls away and Schweinsteiger is normally the best possession player, so that is the reason I changed him. The same for Memphis.”

However, Antonio Valencia being brought off for Ashley Young was not for such a simple reason. The Ecuadorian struggled throughout the first half and van Gaal felt something needed to change.

When asked if Valencia was injured, the Dutchman said: “”No, I think it was tactical because I wanted to prevent crosses from that side and Antonio let them cross. Also, I saw that at that side they could be more effective on that side.”

United fans will hope that the brief rests for both Schweinsteiger and Memphis means the pair will be fully fit for the trip to play Arsenal on Sunday. With neither Michael Carrick nor Ander Herrera in the match-day squad due to injury, Schweinsteiger’s fitness is of paramount importance. The German captain put on a midfield masterclass against his old rivals and a similar performance would be welcomed against Arsenal.

Valencia may not be so lucky after a woeful display in Europe. The 30-year-old will hope to keep his place in the side but van Gaal might be tempted to play Ashley Young at full-back after the Englishman impressed during the second half against Wolfsburg.

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