Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has revealed that he was forced to take off Paddy McNair in the first-half of Monday night’s 2-1 win at Southampton because the defender “had no confidence”.
The 19-year-old was substituted for midfielder Ander Herrera after just 39 minutes at St Mary’s with the match at 1-1, with Van Gaal adding that the move was in his best interests following a disastrous start.
“He had no confidence, he had given three big chances away,” the Dutchman told Sky Sports.
“It’s very disappointing for me and for Paddy, but I had to because as a manager I am responsible to win. I think after the change we played much better.
“Of course it’s tough but it’s also in his best interests. I have made a lot of changes in 30 minutes and all the boys can survive. It is only one match, one moment in a lifetime.”
United were perhaps fortunate to win the game, having chalked up just three attempts on goal compared to the home side’s 15, but Robin van Persie’s second strike of the match in the 71st-minute proved enough to claim a fifth successive win.
Now up to third in the Premier League table, with 28 points from their 15 games, it remains to be seen how much more time McNair will see in the line-up moving forward, but the Northern Irishman can still take heart from how he has stepped up in recent weeks to cover for the numerous defensive injuries.
With six league appearances to his name, few expected him to even feature this season given his inexperience, and he no doubt has a bright future at Old Trafford, despite this latest setback.