Saturday 24 March 2018

Burglers leave Van Gaal with concerns over Di Maria

Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal lays a wreath at the Munich Air Disaster Memorial to remember the 21 people killed on February 6, 1958. Photo: John Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images
Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal lays a wreath at the Munich Air Disaster Memorial to remember the 21 people killed on February 6, 1958. Photo: John Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images

Mark Ogden

Louis van Gaal has admitted his concerns over Ángel di María's frame of mind after the player and his family were the victims of an attempted robbery at their Cheshire home following Manchester United's victory against Leicester City last Saturday.

Di María is living in a hotel with his wife and child and being provided with round-the-clock security by United as a result of the incident.

Although the attempted robbery was aborted after a burglar alarm was triggered at Di María's home, the Argentinian winger's wife, Jorgelina, is understood to be reluctant to return to the house.

Reports in Spain have suggested that Di María has also become unsettled by the robbery attempt, with Paris St-Germain retaining an interest in the player.

"Yes, you are right," the United manager said when asked whether he was concerned about Di María. "I believe in the 'total human being' principle. His environment is also important and he was worried about his wife and child.

"He wanted to play against Cambridge United and I played him. I am happy I let him play because he played very well."

Van Gaal attended a memorial service at Old Trafford yesterday to mark the 57th anniversary of the Munich air disaster, which took the lives of 23 people, including eight of United's Busby Babes.

"They have played a big part of the history of this club and I think we have to remember that always," said the Dutchman as he vowed to honour the memory of the Busby Babes with "flair and pace and passion".

The Dutchman laid a wreath underneath a plaque honouring the Munich dead before observing the ceremony and he admitted to being moved by the supporters' tribute to the Babes.

"They were also a group of players who brought a lot of joy to the people at that time," he said.

"There were men who were singing (at the memorial service) and I was impressed. I want to read in front of you what they said because I was impressed because of the big influence they (Babes) still have now.

"These were the last sentences. . . 'You are the strength and inspiration for those who play your roles today' - that's me and the players - 'We look for flair and pace and passion, to play the game United's way.'

"We have made the right decision to be there, out of respect for the players and Matt Busby, and what they left. I think it was impressive for the all the people and also me.

"It was 57 years ago and still the people are coming and still we remember and that doesn't happen so often, so I think it's good."

Van Gaal, meanwhile, admitted his surprise at being charged by the FA this week for comments made about Foy following the 0-0 draw at Cambridge on January 23.

And the United manager, who has until 6.0 on Monday to respond, insisted he would fight the charge.

"I am not angry - I am very disappointed," Van Gaal said. "I am now for nearly 30 years a trainer-coach or manager and I have never been charged.

"And still, up to now, I don't think that I said something wrong. I said already in our press conference, the same phrases, because I know in advance (of the tie) that everything is in favour of the underdog.

"I said it in front (before) the game and I said it after the game, only in the meaning of the general feeling of everybody, everybody for the underdog.

"So I cannot imagine the FA has charged me. But, okay, it's like that. Of course I will contest it. I never said anything wrong.

"You can confirm, as the media, that I never say anything about the referee, in all the matches I have played." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

West Ham United v Manchester United, live, Sky Sports 1, 4.15pm tomorrow

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