Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal's decision to bring Angel di Maria off against Leicester City with 15 minutes remaining was a "strange" choice that helped spur the hosts on to an incredible 5-3 victory against the odds, according to Foxes assistant coach Kevin Phillips.
Di Maria was replaced by Juan Mata as Van Gaal tried to stem the flow of a Leicester comeback which had a topsy-turvy clash finely poised at 3-3 heading into the closing stages, but just three minutes later United conceded again and never recovered.
Phillips believe seeing the Argentine maestro exit early was the little push Leicester needed to keep driving forward during a whirlwind second half, telling talkSPORT that the plan was always to exploit clear weaknesses in United's under-fire defence.
Why did Di Maria get replaced?
The former Sunderland star said: “We were all delighted when he [Van Gaal] took him off because he was causing us a few problems.
“It was very strange. I was very surprised he took him off. That was a plus from our point of view.”
“We wanted to exploit their weakness and we all felt the back four was their weakness. Attacking wise they look great but the back four looked very suspect to me and they were pulled all over the place yesterday."
One of the greatest comebacks in Premier League history
It had been going so well for United up until the hour mark at the King Power Stadium, with Di Maria's delightful lob helping the visitors serenely stroll into a 3-1 lead.
What followed in the second half was nothing short of a capitulation from Van Gaal's side though, with individual errors compounded a shocking defensive display which condemned United to their second defeat in five Premier League games.
Leicester deserve huge credit for putting Van Gaal in a very awkward position though, with forward's Jamie Vardy, Leonardo Ulloa and David Nugent typifying a performance full of vibrancy and commitment from the outset.
There's no question that Van Gaal is under huge pressure after his side crumbled under late pressure against the newly-promoted outfit, with the tactics employed by Phillips and Leicester boss Nigel Pearson sure to be noted up and down the Premier League after an incredible Sunday afternoon of action.
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