Louis van Gaal brands Anthony Martial “stupid” after CSKA draw


Louis van Gaal saluted Anthony Martial strength of character after rescuing a point for Manchester United.

Martial gave away a 15th minute penalty with a needless handball which United boss Van Gaal described as “a present” to CSKA Moscow.

But the France striker , a £36million deadline day signing from Monaco, atoned for that blunder by scoring the equaliser to salvage a draw.

Van Gaal refused to blame Martial for gifting CSKA the penalty from which they scored, but instead praised the 19-year-old’s strength of character.

“Martial is a human being,” said Van Gaal. “He reacted and it’s a stupid reaction, but sometimes these things happen.

BT SportAnthony Martial touches the ball with his hand in the area resulting in a penalty for CSKA Moscow
The “stupid” handball: Anthony Martial gives away a penalty to CSKA Moscow
Action Images via ReutersAnthony Martial scores the first goal for Manchester United
Leveller: Martial stoops to head the ball towards goal
Action Images via ReutersAnthony Martial scores the first goal for Manchester United
…and it beats Akinfeev via the post
Action Images via ReutersAnthony Martial celebrates with Chris Smalling after scoring the first goal for Manchester United
…before celebrating with United’s players

“He said it’s the first time it has happened to him, that he gives away a penalty. But I was very happy with his performance.

“I knew in advance that it would be a very difficult game because CSKA are very well organised and compact.

“They also had the present of a penalty from Martial, so it was more difficult for us, because they could play more compact.

“But we are now on schedule after the PSV Eindhoven defeat. Now we have two home matches and we are very strong at home.

“I hope we can win these games so we are qualified or nearly qualified, but we also have a game away to Wolfsburg.”

The draw keeps United in second place in Group B and on course to make the last 16.

But with the Manchester derby to come on Sunday former United midfielder Paul Scholes laid into Van Gaal’s side , bemoaning the lack of quality and movement in their performance in the first half.

Action Images via ReutersManchester United manager Louis van Gaal
The boss: Van Gaal watches on from the touchlines

How Group B stands

Wolfsburg 3 2 1 4 2 +2 6
Manchester United 3 1 1 1 4 4 4
CSKA Moscow 3 1 1 1 4 4 4
PSV Eindhoven 3 1 2 4 6 -2 3


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