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Negative substitutions show that Louis van Gaal is the wrong man for Manchester United

FOOTBALL By Mirror | March 18th 2016
Van Gaal dives

With the Red Devils needing three second-half goals to progress against Liverpool, the Dutchman changed both of his full-backs

If anything summed up why Louis van Gaal is the wrong man for Manchester United, it was last night's negative substitutions.

Needing three goals to progress at the expense of United's fiercest rivals, Van Gaal reverted to type, displaying caution when he needed to show courage.

Antonio Valencia, who had not played for nearly five months, came on at half-time for Guillermo Varela, Matteo Darmian for Marcos Rojo and Bastian Schweinsteiger for Michael Carrick.

Two full-backs and a defensive midfielder in a game where you need to score three goals to stay in the tournament. Three changes that showed why Van Gaal is such an ill fit at United.

Former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, watching from the stands, would have thrown off the shackles and thrown everything at Liverpool in pursuit of the three goals needed.

Not Van Gaal. He is a pragmatic boss at a club built on passion and seems unwilling or unable to grasp the fact that United have a duty to adhere to the attacking heritage of their teams of the past.

It was telling, also, that Ryan Giggs spent most of the game in the technical area, trying to cajole United, while Van Gaal remained rooted to his seat, writing notes and displaying no passion.

Old Trafford legend Paul Scholes, who has been fiercely critical of the current United side, questioned the wisdom of Van Gaal's changes.

“You could understand Valencia for Varela, because Coutinho took him wherever he wanted,” said Scholes, talking on BT Sport.

“He [Memphis] hasn't been great, so I don't think he can have many complaints [at not coming on].

“He brought Darmian on for Rojo, a like-for-like at left-back.

“Then you bring Michael Carrick off, who I thought was the best passer of the ball.”

Van Gaal's United future remains bleak, with it looking increasingly likely they will miss out on the top four this season and be consigned to the Champions League wilderness for the second time in three seasons.

Against that backdrop and with such baffling changes as those last night, a parting of the ways between Van Gaal and United seems inevitable this summer.

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