Van Gaal explains Man United substitutions during Wolfsburg win

Louis van Gaal lifts the lid on his thinking behind his tactical changes for Manchester United

Louis van Gaal has revealed that his substitutions during Manchester United’s 2-1 win over Wolfsburg in the Champions League on Wednesday night were purely tactical.

The Dutchman opted to replace Antonio Valencia with Ashley Young at half-time at Old Trafford, before bringing off Bastian Schweinsteiger and Memphis Depay midway through the second half.

The substitutions prompted some fans to question whether the players being brought off had suffered injury problems, but Van Gaal explained the reasons behind his moves after the game.

Van Gaal told his post match news conference: “It was tactical because I wanted to prevent crosses from that side and Antonio let them cross.

“Also, I saw that at that side they could be more effective on that side.

“Schweinsteiger, he was tired I thought and that was the reason, because he also gave balls away and Schweinsteiger is normally the best possession player, so that is the reason I changed him. The same for Memphis.”

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United went behind inside four minutes at Old Trafford when Daniel Caligiuri finished off a stylish six-pass move for the opener.

However, Juan Mata drew the home side level when he confidently fired home his penalty in the 34th minute after Caligiuri handled the ball in the box.

Chris Smalling put United ahead shortly after half-time and they held on to notch up their first three points of the group stage.

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