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Van Gaal left seething at ‘stupid' Smalling

SENT OFF: Smalling sees ref Michael Oliver's red (PA)

MANCHESTER UNITED defender Chris Smalling has been branded “stupid” by his manager Louis van Gaal for getting sent off for two bookable offences in yesterday’s (Nov 2) 1-0 derby defeat to Premier League champions Manchester City.

The 24-year-old England international received his marching orders in the first-half after blocking City keeper Joe Hart’s goal kick and a late sliding tackle on James Milner.

The scores were level at the time, but Smalling’s lack of discipline and timing completely changed the contest, with the game essentially becoming the host’s attack versus United’s defence, which was eventually breached by Argentine Sergio Aguero in the 63rd minute.

Speaking after full-time, United’s Dutch boss told BBC Sport: “In a derby you have to be careful - the second yellow card is a stupid yellow card.

“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 with the second, you know you already have a yellow, so have to handle it differently. I said that to the players.”

The former Bayern Munich and Barcelona coach added: “The red card had an influence on the game but, despite being 10 men against 11, we played better in the second half than the first because of willpower of this team.

“We are very close. You saw it against Chelsea and now against Manchester City. They are the two best clubs in this league and the difference is zero I think.

“When you see what we did with 10 men you can be proud as a coach.”

Smalling will now have to miss United’s next game on November 8 against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.

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