The Man United players also couldn’t believe the Juan Mata for Nick Powell substitution [Times]

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Louis van Gaal’s decision to substitute Juan Mata for Nick Powell on 69 minutes in Wolfsburg on Tuesday night looks more and more curious by the day.

For many, this substitution, on 69 minutes, with Manchester United 2-1 down at Wolfsburg, is a serious black mark against the Dutch coach.

Up until that point, Mata was Manchester United’s most creative player and had set up Anthony Martial for the opener.

The Spaniard was United’s best chance of creating or scoring a goal and whilst Nick Powell has potential, he had not played for the club since the Capital One Cup defeat to MK Dons.

Yesterday, rumours emerged that the normally amiable Mata had let his feelings known in the dressing room after the 3-2 defeat and Champions League elimination.

On Thursday, Jame Ducker in The Times confirms that Mata’s Manchester United teammates were also stunned by the substitution.

Substituting Mata “was greeted with bemusement by teammates”, according to Ducker.

The Times scribe goes on to write that it was not so much the fact that Powell came on, but that Mata had been taken off.

Most frustratingly for United fans, Ducker also claims that little is likely to change under van Gaal, which makes you wonder why the Premier League giants are so keen to hold onto the Dutch coach.

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