Di Maria “not so smart”, says Van Gaal

The Manchester United manager has criticised the Argentine winger after he was dismissed in the FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Arsenal for diving and pushing the referee

Louis Van Gaal has criticised Angel Di Maria, calling the Argentine “not so smart” as he was sent off inManchester United’s FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Arsenal.

Di Maria was booked for diving as he went down easily under an Aaron Ramsey challenge, and was then shown a second yellow card just seconds later for appearing to push referee Michael Oliver.

And United boss Van Gaal believes that the 27-year-old should have handled the situation better.

“We have to see every decision of the referee in the circumstances,” the Dutchman stated. “I want to see on videotape how he has decided and in what way.

“But I know and Angel Di Maria knows that he doesn’t have to touch the referee. That is not so smart of him.

“Emotion is not so easy in such a match but I mentioned it also before the match. I know a red card is easy to give in this kind of match.

“I cannot give comment on whether it was a fair red card and I think you know why.

“He knows he doesn’t have to touch the referee. Every player knows that”.

Van Gaal was also unhappy with his side’s performance, which leaves them with just Champions League qualification to fight for in the remaining two months of the season.

“It’s very disappointing when you don’t lose from your opponent, you have lost from yourself,” he stated. “That’s very disappointing and that’s also why the players are very disappointed. You know that it could be different.

“Of course, a match will be decided by goals. This match has been decided by goals and when you see the second goal, it was nothing.

“We gave it away but the man who did that was the best man on my team. That’s also for him so disappointing. He didn’t do it on purpose, it happens.

“I think always a negative result and this is a big blow for us. We have to recover, we are sportsman. But I cannot say that the motivation of my team was bad. It’s always good and today again we showed fighting spirit.

When asked about Danny Welbeck – who got the winning goal to send Arsenal through to the semi-finals and dump his former club out of the competition – the United boss said: “It happens in football. It was a surprise Wenger put him in the line-up in that position. He was very motivated but I think we gave that goal away.”

Van Gaal also defended Radamel Falcao, who remained on the bench despite the Red Devils chasing an equaliser for the final half-hour.

“Falcao has scored four goals and three or four assists.  That’s his contribution and he has also stimulated the other players.

“[Selling Welbeck and signing Falcao has not worked out?] You are very happy to say that now. I can’t change facts, so you can continue”.