Danny Murphy believes Louis van Gaal’s arrogance is behind the dip in form of Manchester United midfielder Angel di Maria.
Di Maria joined Man United last summer in a £59m move and enjoyed a fantastic start to life at Old Trafford but he has struggled in recent months.
The Argentine was hauled off at half time in United’s 2-0 win against Sunderland last week and he suffered the same fate against Newcastle on Wednesday as he was removed on 59 minutes.
Murphy claims van Gaal’s poor treatment of Di Maria is to blame for the 27-year-old’s slump.
Speaking about the pair, Murphy said: “It’s hard to read Van Gaal sometimes. Maybe it’s an arrogance and he wants to show people he’s the boss, whether you’re a 19-year-old or the superstar in the team. It might just be the case that the team comes first and you’re not playing well enough.
“Managers have a stubbornness to prove people wrong. I haven’t seen Van Gaal manage for long enough to see whether it is stubbornness or whether he genuinely thinks he’s doing this for the best interests of the team.
“Surely the best interests of the team are having a flying fit Di Maria. By doing what he’s done to him in the last few games it’s a very difficult place to come back from.
“They only have 10 games to go though in a brilliant fight with Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal for those remaining two Champions League places. You need your best players. Di Maria’s spirit is not going to be high at the moment, the next game he plays he’s going to be under enormous pressure because of what Van Gaal has done to him.
“I don’t think we’ll see the best of Di Maria until next season.”
Van Gaal has certainly shown he is not afraid of dropping his players this season, whether they are youngsters or more established stars.
Adnan Januzaj, Radamel Falcao and Ander Herrera have all spent a significant amount of time on the substitute’s bench this term. Van Gaal has pointed to the team’s balance as the motive behind his decisions and with a record of two defeats in 22 games it is hard to find fault in what he is doing.