Belfast Telegraph

Louis Van Gaal in awe of classy Anthony Martial after Man United's Southampton win

Southampton 2-3 Man United

By Mark Bryans

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 star 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 back pass 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 won't talk about Man United, I'll 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 back pass was all-but rolled into his path - leaving Van Gaal purring at his £36million prospect.

"He needs to adapt to the English culture, but 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 also expect from him but that is not a big problem for me.

"I'm very happy that he has played 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."

United's former Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin said: "It was strange to go to the away dressing room but I'm a Manchester United player today and I'm very happy with the victory.

"We know Premier League games are never finished and we could have done better with the second goal - but Anthony is an amazing talent."

Saints defender Jose Fonte, denied in stunning fashion by David de Gea, added: "I thought it was in but unfortunately he showed why he is considered one of the best in the world.

"I'm disappointed with the way we conceded the goals.

"I thought we could have done better with the first and the second was a mistake - it can happen but we lost our way a little bit after that."

Belfast Telegraph


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