OLD TRAFFORD (Sporting Alert) — Angel Di Maria will not play for Manchester United in Sunday’s English Premier League clash with Liverpool at Old Trafford, the club confirmed on Friday.
Di Maria has been out of action since picking up a hamstring injury in the 3-0 win over Hull City and has missed the club’s last two matches.
The summer recruit was expected to return in this weekend’s high-profiled fixture at home against arch-rivals Liverpool after he returned to training, and there were many reports in the British papers which suggested that the former Real Madrid attacker would be starting.
However, club manager Louis van Gaal says the Argentine international “is not ready.”
“I am not a doctor so I cannot answer but I know he is not ready for Liverpool,” Van Gaal said on Manchester United’s official website at www.manutd.com.
Meanwhile Van Gaal also gave an update on England center half Chris Smalling, who was forced to leave the game in midweek against Southampton after he suffered a groin injury.
Smalling, who was beginning to find some form in the Man United backline, was also in tears at being forced to leave the game with the injury, but his manager doesn’t expect the 25-year-old to be out for very long.
“It’s not so heavy an injury, he was very wise to stop immediately,” the Dutchman said. “I think it shall take two weeks.”
Van Gaal also noted that Manchester United’s injury crisis is almost coming to an end.
He gave an update at the Aon Training Complex on Friday, and stated that a number of his injured players are almost ready to come back to full training.
“As I have said already last week, the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight,” he said. “And I believe that by the end of December maybe we shall only have three or four injuries.”
Manchester United have won five straight English Premier League games since Nov. 8 and have moved into third place in the points standings heading into the weekend’s fixture.
The Red Devils are some way off leaders Chelsea and Manchester City in the table standings, but the players still believe they can win the title.
Secretly Van Gaal is also holding the same beliefs, but the experienced boss says the main focus at the moment is on beating Liverpool and close the gap between them and the top two.
“I dream for Manchester City’s place or Chelsea’s place,” he said on www.manutd.com. “Now we have to live match for match and that is the most important thing.
“We have to beat Liverpool which is more important than thinking about City or Chelsea.”