Man Utd defender Tyrell Malacia has admitted that he “did not agree” with one of Louis van Gaal’s decisions during the international break.
Malacia was one of United’s signings during the summer transfer window. Erik ten Hag signed him after the defender shone against Ajax while playing for Feyenoord.
The Dutchman has been one of Man Utd‘s best players at the start of this campaign as he has usurped Luke Shaw to be Ten Hag’s first-choice left-back.
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The 23-year-old broke into the Netherlands team last year and he looks set to be included in Van Gaal’s squad for this winter’s World Cup in Qatar.
The Netherlands beat Poland and Belgium during this international break to finish top in their UEFA Nations League group.
Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk scored the winning goal as they beat Belgium 1-0 on Sunday.
Malacia started this game on the bench but he replaced Man City’s Nathan Ake at half-time. The United man was operated as a left-sided centre-back as part of Van Gaal’s preferred 3-5-2 formation.
This was unfamiliar territory for Malacia, as he does not have a lot of experience playing in this position. But he performed well as helped the Netherlands keep a clean sheet.
Van Gaal explained after the win that he made this switch as he “wanted to see what Malacia could do”:
“I have to look at other players who can play there. And I wanted to see what Malacia could do, so Ake was substituted.
“I put him on the left of the central defence because [Kevin] De Bruyne played a lot on that side. It’s better to have a pitbull like that instead of someone like Blind who tries to solve it tactically.
“De Bruyne has more acceleration than Blind as well so I put Malacia there. I had already discussed this with him the day before yesterday, that he could play as a left centre-back.”
Malacia admitted post-match that he “didn’t agree” with Van Gaal’s decision to begin with and he was caught too far forward at times.
He also reiterated that he “feels best” when he is playing on the left flank:
“I went two or three times too much forward. That is not possible in this position as quickly. But I was corrected by others,” Malacia told De Telegraaf.
“I didn’t agree with it at the time, yes. That’s right. After the game we talked about that moment for a while and then it was over.
“I’m comfortable with United at the moment. The national coach thinks that I should also be able to play in the centre of the defence. But I feel best on the left.”