Louis van Gaal knew the red card would be a killer, and that’s exactly what happened.
The Dutch manager said his Manchester United side played well and showed improvement, but they were undone by Chris Smalling’s decisions as the Red Devils were reduced to 10 men and couldn’t keep Manchester City off the scoresheet as a result.
He said he didn’t see Smalling’s first yellow for blocking off Joe Hart’s punt, but that the defender’s tackle on James Milner was “stupid” because he needs to “control his aggression” in the derby and “trust his fellow players who are covering” instead of making such a rash challenge.
However, he stopped short of declaring a defensive crisis with Smalling suspended and Marcus Rojo joining Phil Jones and Jonny Evans on the sidelines with a dislocated shoulder. Van Gaal instead was happy with how substitute defender Michael Carrick played, and is happy to have him in relief.
Finally, Van Gaal hailed the performance of Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart who kept United out as they pressed to equalize down a man.