Louis van Gaal has explained his decision to substitute Radamel Falcao in the second half against Leicester City was purely for fitness reasons.
Falcao made his full debut against Leicester and for the most part was impressive before he was taken off.
The Colombian striker found Robin van Persie with a pinpoint left-footed cross to give Manchester United the lead and was desperately unlucky not to open his goalscoring account when his shot came back off the crossbar in the second half.
Some eyebrows were raised when he was taken off, especially given how poor Robin van Persie had played overall despite scoring, but Van Gaal stands by his decision.
“Not because he was bad. He played well. But I have to build (his fitness) up,” he said.
Falcao hasn’t hit the ground running yet so far with United but it’s hardly surprising given that he is still not fully match fit following a serious knee injury.
However, he is improving. Against Leicester, something Falcao showed was that he has more to his game than simply being a goal poacher with some great movement, runs and general play outside of the box. That characteristic will serve him well.
Like United, Falcao is a work in progress but when he does begin to hit his top form, he should show precisely why United were right to sign him on loan this summer.