With the Red Devils leading 2-0, the Dutchman opted to replace Mata with Jesse Lingard, before Wayne Rooney netted in the second half to wrap up an impressive victory for Van Gaal’s men at Goodison Park.
Van Gaal’s decision to bring off United’s player of the month for September inevitably raised some eyebrows.
However, the United boss played down the significance of his decision when quizzed about it after the game.
Asked about the decision, Van Gaal told MUTV: “That was tactical and I was very happy, I have congratulated him [Lingard] with a good performance in the second half.
“He didn’t lose any balls, one pass to Wayne Rooney maybe, but that is the only pass I can remember, and he did his defensive work very well so I am very pleased with his performance.”
Morgan Schneiderlin slotted home his first goal for United at Goodison Park in the 19th minute.
Ander Herrera then made it 2-0 just three minutes later when he headed home Marcos Rojo’s cross from the penalty spot.
Wayne Rooney, whose form had been questioned in recent weeks, netted against his former club in the 62nd minute with a low finish.
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