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Manchester United boss slams Chris Smalling for derby defeat

Smalling’s first booking was especially foolish

Van Gaal

Louis van Gaal fuming after Smalling earns two yellow cards during first half against Manchester City

Chris Smalling profusely apologised to his team-mates in the Manchester United dressing room after Sunday’s derby and the central defender’s two moments of madness were certainly a contributory factor in the 1-0 defeat.

Smalling’s first booking was especially foolish as he looked to stand in the way of Joe Hart taking a goal kick while his second for a scythe on James Milner was undeniably another booking.

Louis van Gaal praised his Manchester United team for battling so hard after being reduced to ten men, although the dismissal of Smalling was described as “stupid” by the Dutchman.

Van Gaal said: “The sending off is not one of those things. As a player you have to control your aggression. I didn’t see the first yellow but the second you know as a player you have a yellow, so you have to handle it differently. I said that to the players. In the derby you have to be careful. The second yellow card was stupid. You cannot do what he has done with the second yellow card. That is not very smart. What can I say?

“[The sending off] had a big influence on our opponent but also ourselves. Despite having 10 men we played better in the second half than the first and that is because of the willpower of the team. We created a lot of chances, they fought until the last moment, but City had a very good goalkeeper. We are very close but we have to improve.”