Tuesday 20 February 2018

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal labels Anthony Martial 'stupid' for handball error

Manchester United's Anthony Martial, second right, celebrates with Wayne Rooney after scoring his side's equaliser
Manchester United's Anthony Martial, second right, celebrates with Wayne Rooney after scoring his side's equaliser

Jack de Menezes

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has labelled star striker Anthony Martial “stupid” after his handball gifted CSKA Moscow a penalty – even though he went on to score a fine equaliser to salvage a point in Russia.

19-year-old Martial needlessly raised is hand when challenging CSKA’s Mario Fernandes in the 14th minute with the ball hitting his arm, leaving referee Carlos Velasco Carballo no option than to award a penalty to the Russian side.

With Seydou Doumbia putting the host’s ahead, Van Gaal altered his line-up at half-time and introduced Marouane Fellaini in midfield, and Martial’s fine header levelled the scores and secured United a draw ahead of the return fixture at Old Trafford in two weeks’ time.

However, while Van Gaal was pleased no to lose the match, he was unhappy with Martial’s error in the first place that left United trailing.

“They had the present of an Anthony Martial penalty. Martial is a human being, he reacts and it is a stupid reaction, but sometimes these things happen,” said Van Gaal.

“He said it is the first time it happens to him, if it always happens with me it's a pity.”

Despite seeing two points go begging, Van Gaal was pleased with the overall performance and believed that introducing Fellaini at the break helped United pick up their tempo and take the fight to CSKA after being off the pace.

“I was very happy with the performance,” Van Gaal added. “I knew in advance that it would be a very difficult game because CSKA are very well organised and compact.

“The tempo was too slow in my opinion, I said that at half-time, and improve our tempo and switching the game from side to side. We did that better in the second half than the first half. We created more chances and could have won, but I think it is a deserved draw.

“I will be happy with a draw better than a win, we now have two home matches and you can say we are very strong at home and I hope we can win these games so we are nearly qualified or qualified, but we also have a game away to Wolfsburg.

“We are on schedule (to qualify) after the PSV Eindhoven defeat, which was a very strange defeat for us.”

Independent News Service

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