Louis van Gaal has come out to defend his decision to take off a fully fit Paddy McNair just after 39 minutes despite the fact that it was his second substitution in the first half after earlier losing Chris Smalling to injury, Daily Mail reports.
The 19-year-old was unable to cope with the continuous attacking plays from the Southampton forwards as both Shane Long and Graziano Pelle were overpowering the young centre-back on all fronts.
Van Gaal later admitted that he felt McNair was swiftly losing his confidence with the entire United back line being left exposed due to the Saints’ high pressing game.
“He (McNair) hadn’t any confidence. He had already given three big chances away.
“I had to (substitute him), it’s very disappointing for me and also for Paddy, but I had to because as a manager, I’m responsible to win.
“And I think, after the change, we played a little better.”
He also revealed that the decision was hard on the centre-back, but it was something that had to be done.
“Of course, it’s tough (for McNair), but it’s also in his best interests.”