Football pundit for talkSPORT, Danny Murphy thinks that it is the arrogance of Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal that is to blame for Angel Di Maria’s slumping form.
Despite what looked like a sensational buy when he first arrived at Old Trafford from Real Madrid for £60 million last summer, the 27-year-old winger has scored only four goals for the Northwest giants.
Last weekend against Sunderland the Argentinian stared the match only to be replaced at halftime and then again last night at Newcastle he was pulled off early into the second half.
Former England international Murphy says he cannot understand why van Gaal is treating his most expensive signing so poorly.
“Angel di Maria wasn’t doing that badly against Newcastle,” he said “If you’re a player struggling; there are two ways to go about fixing it. The manager can either keep you in the team and let you play through it, or he takes you out and gives you a breather.
“Van Gaal has taken him off at half time against Sunderland, so the press is already all over him. He’s obviously said to Di Maria before the Newcastle game, ‘you start the game, get through it, perform, show me what you’ve got’.
“He wasn’t bad but he wasn’t great. Van Gaal decided to take him off after 55 minutes. Now, as a young player, you could accept it because you’re learning and it might just be a bit too much for you.
“But Di Maria’s a brilliant footballer, who is going through a hard time. He’s had some off-the-field issues, and surely Van Gaal needs to help him out, put an arm round him and let him play through it.
“It’s hard to read Van Gaal sometimes. Maybe its arrogance and he wants to show people he’s the boss, whether you’re a 19-year-old or the superstar in the team. It might just be the case that the team comes first and you’re not playing well enough.
“Managers have a stubbornness to prove people wrong. I haven’t seen Van Gaal manage for long enough to see whether it is stubbornness or whether he genuinely thinks he’s doing this for the best interests of the team.
“Surely the best interests of the team are having a flying fit Di Maria. By doing what he’s done to him in the last few games it’s a very difficult place to come back from.
“They only have 10 games to go though in a brilliant fight with Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal for those remaining two Champions League places. You need your best players. Di Maria’s spirit is not going to be high at the moment, the next game he plays he’s going to be under enormous pressure because of what Van Gaal has done to him.
“I don’t think we’ll see the best of Di Maria until next season.”