LONDON: Another unconvincing display from Manchester United was compounded by a needless red card for Angel Di Maria on Monday as the Argentine added to manager Louis van Gaal`s woes.
With United trailing 2-1 to Arsenal in the FA Cup quarter-final, Di Maria was booked for diving and minutes later grabbed the shirt of referee Michael Oliver, giving the shocked official little choice but to send him off.
It ended United`s hopes of hauling themselves back into the tie and marred what had started off as a bright performance by the man signed from Real Madrid for 60 million pounds ($90.65 million).
Van Gaal, who now has virtually no chance of marking his first season with a trophy, had little sympathy for Di Maria.
"In Spain he knows that he doesn`t touch the referee, but that is also in his emotion," the Dutchman told the BBC.
"I`ve already spoken with him, he knows my opinion but also I have to see on the video.
"I think he`s touched the referee and that`s forbidden in every country, so he has no excuses."
When Wayne Rooney cancelled out Nacho Monreal`s opener for the visitors before halftime with a flying header, United looked as though they might continue their quest for a first FA Cup since winning a joint record 11th in 2004.
But they faded after the break and now only have a desperate battle for a top-four Premier League finish to play for.
That it was Danny Welbeck, sold by Van Gaal last summer, who poached the winner after a dreadful mistake by Antonio Valencia only rubbed salt into the wound.
"We didn`t lose to them, we lost because of our own performance, and that`s very disappointing," Van Gaal said.
"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.
"We gave the ball away in an area where you cannot give the ball away and that`s very disappointing," he added.
"I think the best man in my team made the error and it was decisive. These things happen."
($1 = 0.6619 pounds)