Manchester United skipper Wayne Rooney is backing big money flop Angel Di Maria to rediscover his best form.
Despite a fast start to Premier League life following his £59million move to Old Trafford from Spanish giants Real Madrid, the Argentine has struggled to adapt to the physical demands of English football.
However, the 27-year-old has still grabbed four goals and nine assists in all competitions, and Rooney is confident the winger – who was substituted at half-time during Saturday’s 2-0 win over Sunderland – will shine in the final third of the season.
“It [Saturday] was just one of those days that every footballer has,” said Rooney, who bagged both United goals against Gus Poyet’s side as Louis van Gaal opted to deploy him in a more advanced position.
“He is a great player, he has shown that and you don’t lose talent overnight.
“Hopefully he will get back to his best and start giving some great performances.
“There is nothing worse than when everyone keeps going on at you, but you have to come to it in your own way and I’m sure he will be a big player for us between now and the end of the season.”
Controversy reigned at Old Trafford on Saturday, with referee Roger East at the centre of a media storm after making a baffling call to send off former United defender Wes Brown.
Brown, who joined Sunderland from the Reds in 2011, saw red when Radamel Falcao took a tumble in the Black Cat’s penalty area under pressure from himself and fellow ex-Red John O’Shea, though the initial foul was committed by the Irishman.
In an apparent case of mistaken identity from the referee, Brown received his marching orders, and Rooney stepped up to duly tuck away the spot-kick, before notching again soon after to wrap up the points.
“We started the match poorly,” admitted United boss Van Gaal, who also insisted that Di Maria must be ‘given more time to adapt’.
“I think we were nervous, which is understandable after the defeat to Swansea.
“After the first quarter of the match, we started to create more chances – we scored twice but could have had more – goal difference could be very important in the rat race for top four.
“When they had 10 men it was comfortable, and we didn’t give them any chances.
“We played with control, it’s a step in the process to finish a game off when you are winning.”
Main image courtesy of Sky Sports via YouTube, with thanks.