Man down: Mata should have been more careful, says Van Gaal

Red Devils slip further behind in top four race as midfielder sees red

Afp March 07, 2016
Manchester United’s Spanish midfielder Juan Mata walks from the field of play after receiving his second yellow card of the game. PHOTO: AFP

WEST BROMWICH: Louis van Gaal said Spanish international Juan Mata should have shown more care after he was red-carded as Manchester United lost 1-0 to West Bromwich Albion in a blow to their Champions League qualification hopes.

Mata paid a heavy price for two moments of madness in the space of three minutes and that proved costly as United missed out on the chance to stay in close touch with fourth-placed Manchester City at the Hawthorns.

Venezuela international Salomon Rondon fired home the 66th-minute winner which inflicted United’s first-ever Premier League defeat at the Hawthorns and left them down in sixth place in the race for a top-four spot.

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While Van Gaal confirmed his viewpoint that Mata’s red card was out of character AND admonished him for his carelessness. “The decision, for us, was the turning point in the match,” he said. “It is a big disappointment.”

The United manager felt the Spaniard should have been more careful. “I ask him a rhetorical question. How many red cards? None. I had assumed that. But as a player you also have to know when you have a yellow card, you have to take care,” he said.

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Van Gaal felt his men deserved something from the game. “We were well organised, but it is difficult to create chances when it is 10 against 11. We have played for 60 minutes with 11 men, but we were not uncomfortable and we did not give too many chances away,” he said. “When you see at the end the chances that West Bromwich Albion have created in comparison with us, it was an unnecessary loss.”

West Brom boss Tony Pulis, on the other hand, was delighted that his side have now moved to within one point of an important milestone as they aim to secure their Premier League future for another season.

“One more, let’s get to 40 points and then we’ll take it from there. I think 40 points is always the target,” said Pulis. 

Published in The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2016.

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