Higginbotham confused by van Gaal’s decision to play Lingard and Varela

by Tanveer Arayan

Danny Higginbotham was very confused by Louis van Gaal‘s decision to play Guillermo Varela and Jesse Lingard down the left-hand side against Wolfsburg.

The German side threatened Manchester United’s goal all night and Julian Draxler’s superb run for Wolfsburg’s second started on the wing before he drifted into the middle, found space and squared to give his team-mate a goal on a plate.

While there are no individuals to blame for the defeat, Higginbotham thinks playing the young duo there was a strange move.

Speaking about the game, Higginbotham said: “I didn’t understand the Varela/Lingard situation. Wolfsburg are very, very strong down the left hand side.

“They play [Ricardo] Rodriguez who had to go off with an injury and then you’ve got [Julian] Draxler and [Andre] Schurrle and what they did from the first minute was target down that side.

“What Varela was doing more often than not was playing really narrow. It’s the naivety of youth and it led to so many opportunities.”

I actually thought Varela’s performance was commendable but there’s a fair argument to be had as to why Ashley Young may have been a better choice in front of him in order to offer more protection, but that’s the power of hindsight.

United’s failures at Wolfsburg cannot be attributed to any individual or single decision but Higginbotham is right to say there were some tactical issues with how we played that were certainly contributing factors.

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