Di Maria vows to battle on at United

Argentina's Angel di Maria showing good control during the Copa America match against Uruguay. While he is frustrated at not playing all the time for United, he does not plan to leave them in the close season.
Argentina's Angel di Maria showing good control during the Copa America match against Uruguay. While he is frustrated at not playing all the time for United, he does not plan to leave them in the close season.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON - Angel di Maria has insisted that he has no plans to leave Manchester United this summer despite enduring a difficult first season at the English Premier League football club, although he did admit to feeling frustration at his lack of playing time.

The Argentina midfielder struggled for form and fitness after making his £59.7 million (S$126 million) British transfer record move from Real Madrid. That has led to speculation that he could return to Spain, with Barcelona the latest club to be linked.

However, the 27-year-old, currently in Chile playing for his country at the Copa America, has dismissed those rumours.

Asked in an interview by the Argentinian newspaper Ole if he will leave United, di Maria replied: "No, because I'm not thinking like that. In Madrid, there were times when I was whistled around the stadium but faced it and then it turned around.

"I like to deal with things."

However, he did admit to feeling uneasy about his situation at Old Trafford. "Yes. For me, and my family. Because not everything goes as I want, because I don't play," he said.

"Because I came with an intention and end up on the bench. It's hard to tell how I feel there. I started well, with goals and assists. I was having a good time, until I was out. It's a little hard to explain why I do not play."

Meanwhile, Manuel Pellegrini has started the mind games early for the new season by accusing his Chelsea rival Jose Mourinho of taking the credit "for everything".

In an interview with the Chilean newspaper El Mercurio, the Manchester City manager said: "When he wins, Mourinho wants to take credit for everything. I never do that.

"When I won the Premier League, I didn't say a word. I don't have any problem with Mourinho, he's not my enemy and there isn't any conflict - but I differ from him on all fronts. I have no interest in analysing him as a person."

The pair's rivalry dates from their time in Spain when Mourinho replaced the Chilean as coach of Real in 2010.

Since then, they have become managers of England's leading teams and renewed their war of words at the beginning of last season, when the sides drew 1-1 at the Etihad Stadium in September.

Pablo Zabaleta was sent off and Pellegrini accused Chelsea of being a "small team" who played like Stoke. Mourinho responded by referring to him as "Pellegrino" and said: "I don't comment on his words. Don't ask me about his words, I am not interested in that."

The sides meet again on Aug 15 at the Etihad in the second match of the new season.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2015, with the headline 'Di Maria vows to battle on at United'. Print Edition | Subscribe