Van Gaal: Martial's handball? It was stupid

The Dutchman admitted he was unimpressed with the way the France international conceded a first-half penalty before scoring the equaliser in a 1-1 draw with CSKA Moscow

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal described Anthony Martial’s handball as “stupid” after the Red Devils were held to a 1-1 draw by CSKA Moscow in the Champions League.

The club’s summer signing gave away a first-half penalty after being adjudged to have handled in the area, with Seydou Doumbia smashing home the rebound after Roman Eremenko’s spot-kick was saved.

The France international then came to the visitors’ rescue, rescuing a point with a diving header in the second half, but Van Gaal admitted he was unimpressed with the way he conceded the penalty.

“It was a stupid reaction from Anthony but before that maybe it was offside, I don’t know,” he told reporters.

“I thought it was offside, but I don’t know. It was close. But the reaction, it’s the first time that he did it and there always has to be a first time, but for us it was unlucky because I think we controlled the game.

“We don’t play too fast, I think. The ball possession was too slow in the first half, but we improved in the second half and we scored a fantastic goal. We could have won, but ‘could have’ doesn’t count in football.”

Van Gaal replaced Bastian Schweinsteiger with Marouane Fellaini at the break as United rallied but insisted he was not annoyed by his side’s first half display, despite going in a goal down at half-time.

“Angry? I have given my advice [at half-time] as to how we could win this game because that is more important than getting angry,” he added.

“A reaction like Martial is stupid, but it happens. We are all human beings, so no angry is not the right word. Maybe disappointed because we were playing too slow.

“We had a lot of ball possession but you have to create something with that ball possession, and we didn’t create so much.

“That’s why I changed the shape and the players, and I think the second half was a better half and I think we deserved to draw and maybe also to win.

“We played at a higher tempo I think. We switched the game from one side to the other, and that is also why we got the goal and we created more chances. We also didn’t give many away.”

Despite his harsh words for Martial, Van Gaal did take time out to praise the teenager who scored his fifth goal for his new club.
“He was playing with a lot of strength for the opponent, and he played always at a certain level. He is very consistent, and for a 19-year-old boy I like that.”

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