Manchester United and Netherlands defender Tyrell Malacia has admitted that he didn't agree with Louis van Gaal’s decision to play him as a central defender when the Netherlands played Belgium at the UEFA Nations League.
Tyrell Malacia admits he 'didn't agree' with Louis van Gaal after arguing on the touchline
Malacia played a key role as Holland secured their place in the UNL knockout stages by beating Belgium 1-0
Malacia arrived at Old Trafford from Feyenoord during the summer window and has instantly earned himself a starting XI spot in Erik ten Hag's squad.
Malacia also looks set to play a pivotal role for his nation at this winter’s World Cup, with his place on the plane to Qatar seemingly assured.
Malacia added another string to his bow on Sunday, as he helped the Oranje to an impressive 1-0 win over Belgium.
Malacia was lined up as one of three central defenders an unusual position as he has always played as a left-back. Van Gaal suggested that he was trialled in order to combat Kevin De Bruyne.
"Martins Indi won't make it to the World Cup. I also wanted to see Malacia in that place, so Nathan Ake was substituted for Belgium. Because Martins Indi is not going to make it, I have to look at other players who can play there," said Van Gaal.
He added: "I put him on the left of the central defence because 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 was seen arguing with Van Gaal on the touchline during a break in play after the change was made. He opened up on details of their chat and some of the growing pains he went through in his new position
“I went two or three times too much forward. That is not possible in this position as quickly. But I was corrected by others. 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,” Malacia stated.
Van Gaal said: "The defensive work he did very well. But the constructive work in the build-up could have been a lot better."
Malacia also clarified that he was comfortable playing in his new position as a left-back at Manchester United.