Louis van Gaal has made 33 half-time substitutions since he took charge at Manchester United, among those 25 were tactical and 8 were due to injury.
And Manchester United players now have apparently become increasingly baffled with van Gaal’s substitutions over the past few weeks.
Marcus Rashford was taken off during the 3-0 loss to Tottenham on Sunday as Ashley Young replaced him up front at half-time.
Later Matteo Darmian stepped into the field for injured youngster Timothy Fosu-Mensah while Juan Mata was swapped for Memphis Depay.
Now according to a report from Manchester Evening News, players have become disillusioned with what they think as strange tactical moves during recent matches.
Van Gaal has made 33 half-time substitutions during his time in charge of United and his team has won 13, drawn six and lost 11 of those games.
The Dutchman’s substitution struggles have worsened this term, having watched Marouane Fellaini, Adnan Januzaj, and Young emerge to influence games in his first United campaign.
His in-game management has left him to face regular criticism from the supporters who were actually impressed by Van Gaal’s impact at the 2014 World Cup.
As Netherlands boss, Van Gaal memorably replaced Jasper Cillessen with Tim Krul just before the quarter-final penalty shootout against Costa Rica. Krul went on to save two penalties as the Oranje pulled out a rare shootout triumph.
However, in the semi-finals, Van Gaal’s decision to start with Nigel De Jong against Argentina proved very costly. He substituted defender Bruno Martins Indi before De Jong, fit again after limping off nine minutes into the last 16 clash against Mexico, ultimately departed on the hour mark.
With penalties looming, Van Gaal sent on Klaas-Jan Huntelaar for Robin van Persie, scuppering his initial plans to send on specialist Krul, and Cillessen conceded four spot kicks as Argentina won 4-2.
During Manchester United’s FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Arsenal last season, Van Gaal made two half-time substitutions which unfortunately contributed to their elimination.
He replaced injured Luke Shaw, having risked him despite not being fully fit, and made a tactical change by bringing Ander Herrera off for Michael Carrick as 10-man United lost 2-1.
van Gaal has already made it clear, Wednesday night’s FA Cup quarter-final replay at West Ham is United’s last chance of a title this season. But after the disaster at Tottenham last Sunday it could also be regarded as a final opportunity for the Dutchman to convince an increasingly sceptical public he is worth persevering with for yet another season.
It is most probably an exaggeration to suggest an FA Cup exit would finally force Ed Woodward to bring Van Gaal’s unhappy reign at Old Trafford to an early conclusion.