Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football European

Kid goes from villain to hero as Reds boss rues 'stupid' error

By Robert Jones

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal accused Anthony Martial of gifting CSKA Moscow a Champions League point because of his "stupid" error in the Russian capital.

Martial scored a fine diving header to grab a 1-1 draw for United at the Khimki Arena, but the Frenchman was to blame for gifting the Russians the lead.

Martial raised his right arm going into a challenge with Mario Fernandes in the 15th minute and the ball struck it, leaving the referee with no option but to point to the spot. David de Gea saved Roman Eremenko's penalty but Seydou Doumbia scored the rebound to put CSKA ahead.

Martial's second-half header saved United's blushes but their manager was disappointed with his star striker for the error that led to the hosts' goal.

Van Gaal said: "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.

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

Van Gaal feels his side must pick up the pace to achieve Champions League success.

The Old Trafford supremo felt his men were "too slow" as they were held in Moscow.

"I knew it would be a very difficult game," said Van Gaal.

"We could not play at a high tempo - it was too slow in the first half.

"We had to improve at switching from side to side and we did that. We could have won but a draw was deserved."

United had the majority of the ball throughout the match, enjoying 72 per cent possession, but were unable to make it count.

And midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin knew that was where his side slipped up.

"We had good possession of the ball but we could not create enough chances," he said.

"We could have played a bit more direct maybe but we know we can improve."

And the Frenchman insists the most important thing was to return to Manchester with something in the bag.

"It's never easy to come to Russia, we wanted to win but we will take a point," he added. "We wanted to come here to win, but the most important thing was not to leave here with zero points, sometimes the most important thing is to get what you can and that's one point.

"It's a bit of mixed feeling, but in the Champions League it is a marathon, it's not just about one game. Anthony Martial didn't let his head go down and he scored a great goal.

"Then we pushed on and gave everything and couldn't get the second goal which was a shame."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph