Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal was furious with Anthony Martial after the forward handled in the box to give CSKA Moscow a penalty in the first-half – which was initially stopped by David de Gea but the rebound was dispatched by Seydou Doumbia - during their 1-1 draw in the Champions League on Wednesday (21 October). The Dutch manager, however, forgave the French international, after he scored a brilliant header in the second-half to level the match and grab the Red Devils a point, which puts them in second place in Group B two points behind Wolfsburg.
The 20-time English champions controlled the game from the start, but the manager feels that they were too slow in their passing in the first-half. He, however, lauded the team for their response after the interval, and believes they could have even won the game. Martial, who was responsible for CSKA's lead atoned for his mistake with a lively performance in the second-half, which bagged him his first Champions League goal.
The former Bayern Munich manager labelled his actions in the opening period as 'stupid', but was full of praise for the threat he posed in the second half. Martial has made a blistering start to life at the Old Trafford club, scoring five goals in 16 appearances in all competitions thus far. Van Gaal is impressed with the level of consistency in his performances the young striker brings to every game.
"It was a stupid reaction of Anthony [Martial, to give CSKA a penalty], but before that maybe it was offside. From the bench I thought it was, but I don't know. It's the first time he's done it and there always has to be a first time! [Laughs] But for us it was very unlucky because I think we controlled the game," Van Gaal said, as quoted by United's official site.
"Yes of course! [on forgiving Martial] He was playing again with a lot of threat to the opponent and he always plays at a certain level, he's very consistent. For a 19-year-old boy I like that," the Dutchman added.