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Louis van Gaal and Ronald Koeman disagree after Man Utd beat Southampton

Published 20/09/2015

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal, centre, saw his side win 3-2 at Southampton on Sunday.
Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal, centre, saw his side win 3-2 at Southampton on Sunday.

Old foes Louis van Gaal and Ronald Koeman were at odds as to who was the better side after Manchester United sealed a hard-fought victory at Southampton.

The Red Devils came from behind to win 3-2 at St Mary's and moved up to second place in the Premier League table - with new arrival Anthony Martial scoring twice for Van Gaal's team.

Koeman saw his Southampton side start with a flourish and take a deserved lead through Graziano Pelle, with the Italy international thumping in a late header to leave United sweating on the three points.

Before then, Martial had levelled despite Juan Mata being offside in the build-up and the France international put United in front as he latched onto a weak backpass from Maya Yoshida to slot home.

Mata then finished off a 45-pass move before Pelle's late consolation, leaving both managers with differing opinions on the outcome.

"I don't talk about Man United, I talk about ourselves," said a bullish Koeman.

"We showed at different moments our strengths and maybe it is depending on the weaknesses of them but we showed our quality offensively.

"I'm disappointed because in my opinion we lost by ourselves. We did a lot of good things. There were several moments in the game where you put the pressure on them. We saw the weaknesses of Manchester United today, defensively."

When Koeman's opinion was put to Van Gaal, the Dutchman was dismissive of his compatriots claims.

"Maybe you have twisted his words," he said.

When it was clarified, Van Gaal continued: "He did say it? That is also remarkable. Maybe you have noticed we have also played in a Champions League match and we were behind in the score so we have done everything possible to win that game. So it is remarkable, because not many Champions League teams have won. So I am very happy."

After a disjointed start from United, one later defended by Van Gaal, they got back into the game courtesy of Martial's cool finish.

The 19-year-old deadline day arrival then pounced as Yoshida's tame backpass was all-but rolled into his path - leaving Van Gaal purring at his £36million prospect.

"He needs to adapt to the English culture, he is doing great - three matches in a row and three goals," he said of Martial.

"When you are 19, you cannot expect consistency. Emotionally they shall have a lot of dips so that I expect also from him but that is not a big problem for me.

"I'm very happy that he is in three matches and his talent is at a high level and he adapts to the system of how we want to play, that is also important, not every player can adapt in that system but he shows he wants to do that and he can do that.

"He scores goals. That is the most important thing, that as a striker he scores goals. He can improve I think but he has a high level of talent."

Koeman upset with the backpass for the second United goal, an almost carbon copy of Jose Fonte's same error in the corresponding fixture last year.

The Saints boss, who clashed with Van Gaal during their time working together at Ajax in 2004 with the pair never healing that rift, did not single out Yoshida but said passing back to the goalkeeper is not what he likes to see.

"I hate always players, in general not criticising Maya, I hate players who pass the ball always back to the goalkeeper, play it into the space in front," he said.

"I will tell them tomorrow the same story, it is always a risk. We have to learn form that because we made that mistake last year and we did it again today.

"You can talk about tactics, and goalkeepers, offside or not offside but we lost by ourselves and not by our opponent."

As well as Martial's brace, United were also thankful to goalkeeper David De Gea, who made a string of impressive saves including a memorable one from Jose Fonte with the game finely balanced at 2-1 to the visitors.

"I thought from the bench "that is in" but David was still in the air," Van Gaal added before he departed the press room still questioning Koeman's comments about his side.

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