Man United’s Louis van Gaal: I needed to settle Angel di Maria’s mind

Louis van Gaal says that he played Angel di Maria to settle the winger's mind after a reported break-in attempt

Louis van Gaal has revealed that he opted to play Angel di Maria in Manchester United’s FA Cup win over Cambridge United to settle the winger’s mind.

The Argentina international was the victim of a reported break-in attempt at his home in Cheshire on Saturday, with Di Maria and his family being forced to move into a hotel amid concerns about their safety.

Van Gaal says that he was prepared to leave Di Maria out of his squad for the 3-0 FA Cup replay win last week due to the incident.

However, the Dutchman says that he opted to play the 26-year-old for 71 minutes at Old Trafford because the player himself was desperate to feature for the Red Devils.

“I believe in the total human being principle, so his environment is also important. He was worried about his wife and child,” Van Gaal told a news conference on Friday.

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“I spoke with him and he wanted to play against Cambridge United and I played him. I have decided in the past that I will never play a player in those circumstances, because of the total human being principle.

“But with him I had the feeling that I had to give him a chance to play and I was happy that I let him play. He played very well. And, of course, I have to decide Sunday again, but when you have seen his performance against Cambridge, I don’t think I have any doubt.”

Di Maria has scored three goals and made six assists in the Premier League so far this season.

Manchester United travel to West Ham United in their next Premier League game on Sunday afternoon. Van Gaal’s side are currently third in the table and 10 points behind leaders Chelsea.

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