Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has revealed why he substituted Matteo Darmian at half-time against Southampton on Sunday afternoon.
The Italian right-back was hauled off, according to Van Gaal, because he couldn’t cope with Saints winger Dusan Tadic.
Damian was replaced by Antonio Valencia at the break, and Van Gaal was pleased with the way the latter managed to contain Tadic in the second half.
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Speaking about Darmian, Van Gaal was quoted by the Manchester Evening News as saying: "He gave too much space to Tadic in my opinion, so that's why I brought on Valencia.
“I didn't see Tadic in the second half, did you? It was a tactical change because Tadic had a lot of space and was very dangerous for us.
"I wanted to eliminate that with Valencia and he did that very well I think."
Darmian's performance-levels have dropped
Darmian has enjoyed an impressive start to his Manchester United career, following his £14 million move from Torino in the summer, but his performances in the previous two matches have been below-par.
The Italy international also struggled in the Red Devils’ 2-1 defeat to PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League group stages last week.
Van Gaal may hand Darmian the opportunity to play himself back into form against Ipswich Town in the Capital One Cup third round on Wednesday night.
But failure to perform in that fixture could open up the chance for Valencia to nail down the right-back position for the first time since the end of last season.
Van Gaal must show patience with Darmian
Damian, who turns 26 in December, is still adjusting to life in England and the Premier League following his move from Italy and must be shown patience by Van Gaal.
Dropping him so soon into his Manchester United career could have a catastrophic effect on his confidence, so Van Gaal must ensure he makes the right decisions over the next few days.
Manchester United fans: would you play Matteo Darmian or Antonio Valencia v Ipswich on Wednesday? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!