• Premier League

'Stupid' Smalling accepted his mistake, says Louis van Gaal

ESPN staff
November 3, 2014
Chris Smalling earned his first yellow card for this block © Getty Images

Chris Smalling was "humble" about his errors in getting two yellow cards during the first-half of Manchester United's 1-0 defeat at Manchester City on Sunday but Louis van Gaal still branded the second of them "stupid".

The actions of the defender, who was given a derby warning before the match, handed United's neighbours the advantage when he was sent off for a late tackle on James Milner after just 39 minutes.

Manager Van Gaal initially said Smalling's thinking was not smart but later went further, with the England international's response in the United dressing-room after the game apparently his saving grace.

"The second yellow card was stupid," said Van Gaal. "As a player you have to control your aggression. I didn't see the first booking but the second, you know as a player you have a yellow card, so you have to handle it differently. I said to the players in the derby you have to be careful.

"When you have a yellow card you have to deal with it and you cannot do what he has done with the second one.

"He stayed very humble in the dressing-room. You can only accept it. Nevertheless it is not so smart."

United's defeat left them 13 points behind leaders Chelsea with Van Gaal's team recording the club's worst start to a season since 1986-87, when their form led to the departure of Ron Atkinson and the appointment of a certain Sir Alex Ferguson.

Van Gaal admitted his side have a problem but defended Marouane Fellaini from accusations that the midfielder spat on City goalscorer Sergio Aguero that emerged after the game.

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