Van Gaal feels heat as risky substitution backfires

Published 01/24/2016, 1:21 AM EST
Football Soccer – Manchester United v Southampton – Barclays Premier League – Old Trafford – 23/1/16 Charlie Austin celebrates with team mates after scoring the first goal for Southampton Reuters / Andrew Yates Livepic


REUTERS – Manchester United 0 Southampton 1

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal conceded that his decision to throw winger Adnan Januzaj on for defender Cameron Borthwick-Jackson played a part in Saturday’s 1-0 home Premier League defeat by Southampton.

An inviting cross from the right flank presented Charlie Austin with a dream debut for the visitors and he powered home an unstoppable header three minutes from time.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Football Soccer – Manchester United v Southampton – Barclays Premier League – Old Trafford – 23/1/16
Charlie Austin celebrates with Shane Long after scoring the first goal for Southampton
Reuters / Andrew Yates
Livepic

“I wanted to win this game and that’s why I changed Borthwick-Jackson for Januzaj,” said Van Gaal, whose side enjoyed a smash-and-grab 1-0 win at Liverpool last week despite a similarly listless display.

“That is the risk you take, it was a poor game and we didn’t create so much and neither did our opponents.”

“I had a feeling they could only score from set-play.”

A resolute Southampton repeated their success in the corresponding fixture last season when a Dusan Tadic goal gave them their first league victory at Old Trafford in 27 years.

With their midfield stifled, United lacked any spark or creativity and their afternoon was summed up by several harmless efforts from lone striker Wayne Rooney.

Football Soccer – Manchester United v Southampton – Barclays Premier League – Old Trafford – 23/1/16
Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney looks dejected at the end of the match
Action Images via Reuters / Jason Cairnduff
Livepic

A mouse appearing on the pitch in the second half drew one of the loudest cheers from a subdued home crowd, who jeered Van Gaal down the tunnel.

The Dutchman acknowledged United were feeling the heat again after the defeat ended a mini-revival following a very poor run in December.

“Because you have to meet expectations and the expectations are very high, that gives a lot of pressure for the players,” he said.

“They (the fans) are right, I cannot deny that. We are working hard but we have a lot of injuries that you cannot change.

“In better or for worse, we have to stick together.”

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman was delighted by his team’s performance.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

“We played very good,” he said. “Our organisation was good, we were very compact, we had good pressing.

“We stayed in the game, controlled the game and you saw more nerves in the Man United team and finally we score from a corner kick.

“We showed spirit today, it was an amazing result for the second time here.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic, editing by Ed Osmond)

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Dhruv George

11309 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT