Football: Di Maria blames van Gaal for United flop

Argentina's Angel Di Maria, who now plays for Paris Saint-Germain, celebrates a goal.
Argentina's Angel Di Maria, who now plays for Paris Saint-Germain, celebrates a goal.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Angel di Maria has blamed Louis van Gaal for his miserable spell at Manchester United and claimed he left Old Trafford because it would give him a better chance to win trophies.

Di Maria was one of van Gaal's marquee signings when he joined United from Real Madrid for a British record £59.7 million (S$120 million) in 2014.

But after a promising start, di Maria felt he was undermined by van Gaal's decision to play him in several different positions.

The Argentina midfielder eventually left for Paris Saint Germain in August last year, by which time he was relieved to put an end to his United nightmare.

"Every time I was given the opportunity I did the best I could but it didn't work out," Di Maria told BBC Sport's Football Focus.

"It's more that they didn't let me settle properly than I couldn't settle.

"I started a game in one position then the next game in another. I scored goals playing in one position, then the next game I was picked to play in a different position. I don't think this helped me settle.

"It's up to the manager to decide but I think the player should be comfortable in that position and adapt to it."

Once it became clear he would struggle to win van Gaal's trust, di Maria was delighted to move to PSG, who have already won the French league title this season and host Manchester City in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, van Gaal's problems have increased this season and it appears likely the Dutchman will leave at the end of the current campaign, with di Maria making it clear his former boss has to take the rap for United's woes.

"I decided to leave, not only to be happy, but to win things," he added.

"I left and that team are still playing the same way. Out of the European competitions, far from being champions of the Premier League.

"I don't think it was my fault, or the fault of my team-mates. Every time I was given the opportunity I did all I could but it didn't work out as I hoped.

"So I decided to leave, not only to he happy but to win things. That's what I'm doing here." Di Maria is expected to miss PSG's home match with Nice on Saturday after returning with a minor injury from international duty with Argentina.

But he has recaptured his best form in the French capital and in another blow for van Gaal he was quick to salute PSG coach Laurent Blanc for allowing him the freedom to express his talents.

"I'm very thankful to the manager (Laurent Blanc). From the beginning he was clear where he wanted to play me and has never changed his mind," di Maria said.

"He has given me total freedom to move where I need to move and I'm very happy here. It wasn't the case over there (United)."