Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has named Antonio Valencia his man of the match despite the player's contributing role in his side's FA Cup elimination at the hand of Arsenal on 9 March.
Valencia was one of a handful of defenders deemed at fault for Nacho Monreal's opener in the first half while it was his short back pass that was pounced upon by Danny Welbeck as the former United striker scored the game's decisive goal in a 2-1 defeat. But despite the individual errors, Van Gaal was impressed with the Ecuadorian's performance.
"We gave the ball away in an area where you cannot give the ball away and that is very disappointing," Van Gaal told MUTV. "I think the best man in my team made the error and it was decisive. These things happen."
United drew level through Wayne Rooney's superb diving header minutes after Monreal's opener but it was Valencia's poor back pass that saw Arsenal find a breakthrough. The home side rallied after falling behind but were dealt a further blow 14 minutes from time when Angel Di Maria was sent off for two bookable offences. Despite dominating possession after being reduced to 10 men, United yet again failed to produce clear cut opportunities.
"We didn't lose to them, we lost [because of] our own performance, and that is very disappointing," Van Gaal said in his post-match press conference. "The players are very disappointed, they know it could have been different. It's a pity because after we were 1-0 down, we recovered immediately. And the first chances of the second half were for us, so we could have decided the game."
With United's hopes of silverware this season gone, they will now focus their attention on securing a top-four finish. But a run of fixtures against Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, a resurgent Aston Villa, Manchester City and Chelsea in their next five games is likely to decide their fate.