Virgil van Dijk gives verdict on his performance during home Southampton debut

Southampton Fans

Virgil van Dijk admitted that he was disappointed with his display against Manchester United.

Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk has told the Daily Mirror that he felt the game against Manchester United on Sunday was 'tough' for him.

The 24-year-old centre back joined Southampton from Celtic on deadline day having thrived up in Scotland, and Saints boss Ronald Koeman swooped for his Dutch compatriot as a replacement for Toby Alderweireld, who joined Tottenham over the summer.

Having made his debut against West Bromwich Albion last weekend, Van Dijk made his first start at St. Mary's Stadium on Sunday against Manchester United - but it was a difficult game for the defender.

Van Dijk was turned by Anthony Martial for United's equaliser to make it 1-1 in the first half, before Martial grabbed another and Juan Mata hit the winner in a 3-2 win for the Red Devils.

The step up from Scottish football to the Premier League has often been a real struggle for some players over the years, most notably former Rangers defender Jean-Alain Boumsong, who flopped at Newcastle.

It's far, far too early to suggest that Van Dijk could follow a similar path, but the Dutchman did admit to the Daily Mirror that he was disappointed with his own performance against United - and vowed to improve as he adjusts to life in the Premier League.

"It’s going to be tough, of course," said Van Dijk. "I expect that. In this league, everyone can win against each other. This is the challenge. It’s a challenge I like. Today there were a couple of moments that were disappointing from myself. I am very critical of myself so I want to do a lot better. That’s what I’m going to do."

"I’m still settling in but I’m enjoying it. Today was my first proper game and it was tough. But I’m a winner and I want to win every game. I’ll learn from this and take all the notice I need for the next game," he added.

Van Dijk has great athletic attributes with speed and strength as well as technical ability, but he does need to improve positionally and mentally at times - and playing alongside a wily Premier League veteran like Jose Fonte should help him, just as it did for ex-Saints defenders Dejan Lovren and Toby Alderweireld.

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