Louis van Gaal: I worry about Angel di Maria after robbery
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 in the Premier League last Saturday.
Di María, a £59.7 million British record signing from Real Madrid last August, 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 Argentina winger’s wife, Jorgelina, is understood to be reluctant to return to the house.
Reports in Spain have also suggested that Di María has become unsettled by the robbery attempt, with Paris Saint-Germain retaining an interest in the player, but Van Gaal believes that the 26-year-old’s determination to play in Tuesday’s FA Cup fourth-round replay against Cambridge United underlined his determination to play on.
“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 decided in the past that I would never play a player in those circumstances because of the ‘total human being’ principle. But with him I had the feeling I had to give him the chance to play and I am happy I let him play because he played very well.
“Of course, I have to decide on Sunday again, but when I have seen already his performance against Cambridge United, I don’t think I have any doubt.”
Van Gaal, who is expected to select Di María to face West Ham United at Upton Park on Sunday, confirmed that he would contest a Football Association charge for “alleging/implying bias by the match officials” during United’s draw at Cambridge last month.
The Dutchman claimed “everything is against us” and “then you have seen the referee” following the 0-0 draw at the Abbey Stadium, which led to the charge that will result in a fine or warning should he be found guilty.
But with Van Gaal given until 6pm on Monday to respond, he insisted he would appeal against the FA’s action.
“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, I don’t think I said something wrong.
“I said already in our press conference that everything is in favour of the underdog, so I cannot imagine the FA has charged me. But, OK, it’s like that. Of course I will contest it. I never said anything wrong.”
Van Gaal attended a memorial service at Old Trafford on Friday to mark the 57th anniversary of the Munich air disaster, which took the lives of 23 people, including eight of United’s Busby Babes.
And although he has been criticised for the style of football played by his team since taking charge of United last summer, Van Gaal insisted he had been inspired by the memory of the Babes and the status they still hold at Old Trafford.
“They were a group of players who brought a lot of joy to the people at that time,” Van Gaal said. “They have played a big part of the history of this club and I think we have to remember that always.
“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 [the Babes] still have now.
“ ‘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.’
“I was happy I was there because of this and also the impression the people gave to me.”