Louis van Gaal has declared of his stuttering team that “we are all human beings and we all have bad days” and has appeared to reiterate his belief that the personal challenge of acclimatizing explains Angel Di Maria’s struggle for form.
The Manchester United manager writes at some length in tonight’s match programme for the FA Cup quarter final against Arsenal about the difficulty to adapt that his new foreign players are encountering – with Di Maria the most high profile of those.
“When you bring players into a team from a number of different countries it always takes time for them to settle both personally and with their family but also on the pitch as part of the team,” writes the manager, who is looking to extend a superb record which has seen Arsenal win only one of their last 15 games at Old Trafford.
“Away from the football you have to adapt to a new culture that you are living in, while on the field you have to learn the new rhythm of the game, which is very high in the Premier League and very different to any other league, plus the competition is also very high. We are all human beings and we all have bad days but I am very pleased with the players we have here. They are improving all the time and I don’t think it will be very long before we see the team competing as a unit.”
Some analysts, including The Independent’s Danny Higginbotham believe that the problem is tactical, with Van Gaal not tasking the Argentine Di Maria to run at defenders, 1 v 1.
But Di Maria said in tonight’s programme that the struggle to adapt is a product of “having so many new faces arriving.” He said: “Its never easy for them to settle in immediately alongside the established names.”
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