Louis van Gaal hails Manchester United's philosophy after Juan Mata's 44-pass goal against Southampton

The Dutchman also praised Anthony Martial for his brilliant brace

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Louis van Gaal has hailed Manchester United's third goal against Southampton as the "confirmation of our philosophy".

Juan Mata's strike, which rounded off a 44-pass move, ultimately proved to be the difference in a 3-2 victory at St Mary's, propelling United into second place in the Premier League.

Van Gaal called the build-up to the goal "unbelievable" in his post-match press conference.


"Fantastic," the Dutch coach said of the move. "And then you can finish it – unbelievable! With that amount of passes you control the game. I always say to the players that the gaps in the defensive organisation shall exist when you play a kind of positional game. We did it today and I was very pleased, of course it is confirmation of our philosophy."

Prior to Mata's finish, United had gone in front with two well-taken goals by new recruit Anthony Martial, who impressed on his first Premier League start for the club.

His brace cancelled out Graziano Pelle's opener for the hosts, which came amid a disjointed and United display in the opening half hour. Another strike from Southampton's Italian striker late on set up a frantic finish but ultimately proved to be no more than a consolation.

When discussing Martial's performance, Van Gaal was praise was equally as glowing. "He has great talent and he showed it under pressure," he said. "That may be his greatest talent."

However, the Dutchman quickly warned fans not to expect too much from his young forward. "You cannot expect consistency from a player of 19 years of age," he added. "Emotionally they shall have a lot of dips so I expect also from him but that is not a big problem."

Debate over Van Gaal's brand of football and 'philosophy' has endured ever since his appointment, coming to a head at the back end of last season. Supporters and pundits have often voiced frustration at the side's reluctance to take risks and the commitment to retaining possession.


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