Louis van Gaal has branded Anthony Martial “stupid” for the handball that led to a penalty in the draw with CSKA Moscow – but he is not angry with the Manchester United star.
Martial raised a hand to block Mario Fernandes’ touch inside the area in the first half of Wednesday’s 1-1 Champions League draw, allowing Seydou Doumbia to score from the rebound following Roman Eremenko’s missed spot-kick.
The France forward responded by heading in United’s equaliser in the second half and Van Gaal was left more frustrated with his side’s insipid first-half performance than Martial’s early mistake.
“It was a stupid reaction from Anthony but before that maybe it was offside, I don’t know. It was close,” the United boss said to BT Sport.
“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.
“I have given my advice as to how we could win this game because that is more important than getting angry. 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 [in the second half]. 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.”
Martial has now scored five goals for United since his move from Monaco at the end of the transfer window and Van Gaal is delighted with the teenager’s consistency to date.
“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,” he added.