Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

How Does Van Gaal Solve a Problem like Di Maria? ; Big Match Preview United V Burnley

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

How Does Van Gaal Solve a Problem like Di Maria? ; Big Match Preview United V Burnley

Article excerpt

SEVENTY minutes into his debut at Turf Moor last August, Angel di Maria was forced off and the buoyant natives chirped "What a waste of money" as United's most expensive player hobbled towards a stand sponsored by David Fishwick Minibus Sales.

It is not the last time Di Maria has heard the chant and, as he prepares to take on Burnley again tonight, United fans are wondering whether the Argentinian will regain the form that saw him recognised as the Champions League final's man of the match last year.

Di Maria was deservedly named in the FIFPro World Team of the Year 2014.

On top of that, in the FIFA graphic that listed the elite 11 Di Maria was positioned on the left of a midfield three.

However, his club boss Louis van Gaal has not taken note.

Di Maria's injury lay-off in December seemed to give Van Gaal time to ponder and when asked about Di Maria's best position, he replied: "We still have to find that out.

"It is also the composition of the team, we have to look for the best team also because all of the players were injured so I could not select the team that I want."

How do you solve a problem like Di Maria? You play him in his best position.

The Pounds 59.7m outlay on the former Real Madrid midfielder suggested that Van Gaal would build a team around Di Maria.

Instead, he is yet to play the 26-year-old in a system that is conducive to his talents.

Di Maria scored three goals in his first five United starts but has managed just one since - at Yeovil in the FA Cup third round.

Never the most prolific goalscorer at Real Madrid, he has provided six assists and has become a victim of Van Gaal's meddling tactics.

Against Southampton in January, Van Gaal played Di Maria up front on a day he proved he most certainly was not Arjen Robben in what was an avaricious and awful display.

Like Robben, Di Maria is left-footed and quick, but Di Maria is a lavish and skillful box-to-box midfielder with an eagerness to defend, as well as attack.

Defending is not Robben's forte, so Van Gaal let him off the leash to wreak havoc at the World Cup last summer. …

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