Louis van Gaal discloses reason behind Matteo Darmian's half-time substitution

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Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has revealed the reason for switching right-back Matteo Darmian with Antonio Valencia at half-time against Southampton on Sunday.

The Dutchman withdrew his summer signing in replacement for the faster Valencia, and admitted simply that he didn't feel the Italian defender couldn't handle Saints forward Dusan Tadic.

Van Gaal said, according to Manchester Evening News: "He gave too much space to Tadic in my opinion, so that's why I brought on Valencia.


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"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."

Despite his struggles at St. Mary's, Darmian has made a successful start to his Manchester United career after his £14 million move from Series A side Torino this summer. The 25-year-old did, though, seem to suffer from similar difficulties on his Champions League debut against PSV Eindhoven last week.

Following Darmian's substitution, his team-mates managed to close out a narrow 3-2 victory over Ronald Koeman's Southampton, owed largely to the goalscoring exploits of Anthony Martial.

The Frenchman bagged his second and third goals in two league games - both of which cool finishes - and appears to be adapting to life in the Premier League.

Juan Mata scored the deciding third goal, slotting home after a quite-incredible 45-pass build up.

Darmian wasn't the only United player to struggle on Sunday, though, with Dutchman Daley Blind struggling to contain the physicality of Graziano Pelle and pace of Sadio Mane.

Wayne Rooney made his return to the Red Devils' starting line-up, but yet again failed to make a telling impact on the game, much the story this season so far for the 29-year-old. He did, however, look more at home in the no.10 role behind the aforementioned Martial.

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