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Premier League

Angel Di Maria hobbles off as Manchester United boss admits – 'We've been unacceptable'

Louis van Gaal says performance at Turf Moor was 'unacceptable'

Angel Di Maria, Britain’s most expensive footballer, hobbled out of his first game for Manchester United after which their manager Louis van Gaal admitted that the club’s start to the season had been unacceptable.

Di Maria was already suffering cramps when a kick on the calf by Burnley’s Danny Ings saw him withdrawn 20 minutes before the end of the dismal goalless draw, which saw United slump to their worst start to a Premier League season since 2007-08.

United have not ruled out the prospect of adding further reinforcements to their side after the £13.8million arrival of back-up transfer target Daley Blind from Ajax. But the club’s final 48 hours of the transfer window will be dominated by attempts to shed players, with Tom Cleverley’s move to Aston Villa, Shinji Kagawa to Borussia Dortmund and Javier Hernandez to Juventus or Valencia all yet to be concluded.

Blind only learned on Wednesday that Van Gaal wanted to press ahead with a deal to buy him, when a move for another midfielder who was ahead of him on United’s list failed. United have had an interest in Arturo Vidal, of Juventus, and Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho. Blind may operate in a flexible role at the back of United’s midfield, switching to a central defensive role when the side are out of possession.

“He brings a multi-functional player who can play in many positions,” Van Gaal said of Blind, who is the son of the coach Danny Blind, one of his closest associates in football. “He is a good player. He can read the game very well.”

Van Gaal said that Di Maria was “not the world class player we have seen in Madrid” in his display at Burnley. The manager, who expects the Argentine Marcos Rojo to have resolved his visa problems by the time that United next play, said: “At this moment this is certainly not [world class] but we have to wait and have belief.

“Of course the progress is there but you have to win. A club like Manchester United has to win. When you have two points from [a possible] nine that is far too [few] and that’s disappointing.”

Manchester United have agreed a fee with Ajax for utility man Daley Blind




5min. First threat. A 20-yard run down the left but he plays the ball far too long for Wayne Rooney. Ironic Burnley cheers “Argentina” chants from United fans.

15. What’s to come. Impeccable ball into right channel from just inside own half to Robin van Persie.

21. Move of the match. Di Maria back header creates space, from which he flicks a ball with the outstep, to Van Persie, takes return pass and levels low cross. Mata fluffs.

30. Rooney link-up. They developed an immediate intuition. Di Maria’s clipped pass is cushioned by Rooney into Van Persie’s path but he is slow to respond.

49. First shot in the  Premier League. Valencia seized possession which Rooney recycles to Di Maria, left side of box. Kieran Trippier blocks.

64. Fatigue tells. Signs that Di Maria is experiencing cramp.

69. Takes a kick to the calf by Danny Ings and manager Louis van Gaal decides to substitute him.

Ian Herbert