Football

Di Maria wanted to play despite break-in

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has revealed that he played Angel di Maria in midweek to help the player's state of mind after his house was attacked.

Reports emerged last week that di Maria and his family were at home in Cheshire the previous Saturday night when their property became the target of an attempted break-in.

The perpetrators apparently fled empty-handed after failing to smash through a patio door, but di Maria's family are said to have relocated to a hotel after the terrifying incident.

Van Gaal felt that he had a duty of care towards the family to give di Maria some time off, but the Argentina international played in last Tuesday's FA Cup fourth-round replay against Cambridge at his own insistence.

HUMAN

Mindful of the club record £59.7-million ($123m) signing's long-term well being, van Gaal said: "I believe in the total human-being principle, so his environment is also important. He was worried about his wife and child.

"I spoke with him and he wanted to play against Cambridge United and I played him. I have decided in the past that I will never play a player in those circumstances, because of the total human-being principle.

"But, with him, I had the feeling that I had to give him a chance to play and I was happy that I let him play.

"He played very well. And, of course, I have to decide Sunday again, but when you have seen his performance against Cambridge, I don't think I have any doubt." - PA Sport.