Louis van Gaal lifts lid on Angel di Maria’s Man United role

Louis van Gaal explains why he has been playing Angel di Maria in a more advanced role in recent weeks

Louis van Gaal has explained why he has been deploying Angel di Maria in a more advanced role for Manchester United in recent weeks.

The 26-year-old has been played in a central striking role for the Red Devils in recent weeks alongside regular forwards Robin van Persie and Radamel Falco.

And Van Gaal has revealed why he has been experimenting with the former Real Madrid star’s position in recent games.

“He played in the 4-4-2 in the left midfield position, but in the 3-5-2 he does not play so much because he has been injured,” Van Gaal told a news conference on Thursday.

“Then he came back and I tried him as a striker because we also need pace in that position. We have to stretch the pitch – that is an important aspect of a striker, that he can stretch the pitch.

“Then you make the pitch bigger and your midfielders can play in a bigger space and play a better positional game than ever.

“So I tried that – I had to try it because I didn’t have the preparation at the beginning of the season [Di Maria joined in late August].”

Di Maria, who helped Argentina reach the World Cup final in Brazil last summer, has scored three goals and made six assists in 14 Premier League games for United this season.

He has missed a number of games in recent weeks due to a hamstring complaint but played the full 90 minutes as United ran our 2-0 winners over Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road last weekend.

United take on Cambridge United in the FA Cup fourth round on Friday evening.

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