Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has hit out at Robin van Persie after the Dutch striker celebrated his last-gasp equaliser against Chelsea on Sunday by taking off his shirt - and, in the process, earning himself a needless yellow card.
Speaking after the 1-1 draw, Van Gaal called Van Persie's react "stupid" and said his captain could have celebrated without earning a cheap booking.
"You can see he had a stupid reaction after the goal," Van Gaal said. "You can be excited, but you don’t have to pull your shirt off because then you get a yellow card.
"It’s not so smart."
"You can see he had a stupid reaction after the goal." - Van Gaal on Van Persie.
Van Persie expresses relief
Van Persie, who has received criticism for his below-par performances this season, celebrated his goal with a mixture of euphoria and relief. The £200,000-a-week 31-year-old didn't enjoy the best 90 minutes, but salvaged a precious point for the Red Devils with a close-range finish after Thibaut Courtois parried Marouane Fellaini's header.
That was Van Persie's third goal of a topsy-turvy season, but it was a goal of real importance, not only because of the valuable point but also the morale boost it provided around Old Trafford.
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In many ways it felt like a victory for the home side, and a defeat for Jose Mourinho's men, who took the lead early in the second half through Didier Drogba before conceding the 94th-minute equaliser.
Van Gaal praises United's fighting spirit
Van Gaal praised Manchester United's fighting spirit and says his side deserved a point from the match, even though their equaliser came with virtually the last kick of the game.
"The most pleasing thing is we are believing in making a goal even when the scoreline is bad," Van Gaal told reporters. "The players are running until the 90th minute to equalise or win.
"Chelsea tried to kill the game but my boys ran and fought until the end and at the end we scored and deserved it."
Van Gaal disappointed not to win
However, the veteran Dutch coach was disappointed that his team failed to win the match, despite the fact Chelsea currently lead the Premier League table and remain unbeaten this season.
"I've said to the players we could have won but we didn't and that's our fault," he continued. "When you can do that against the best team in this league at this moment it is a good sign.
"But I'm not pleased as I still have the feeling we could have won and that we don't take our opportunities at the moment.
"I have seen that we could have beaten Chelsea. I'm saying that nearly every game but this is against Chelsea, who are a top team and we were at least equal."
United prepare for City trip
Manchester United now prepare for a daunting trip to the Etihad Stadium to face local rivals Manchester City in the first Manchester derby of the season.
United, under David Moyes, were thrashed 4-1 by City in last season's corresponding fixture - but after the manner of their draw against Chelsea at the weekend, confidence amongst Van Gaal's squad will be high.
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