Van Gaal: Di Maria struggled against Crystal Palace

The £59.7 million signing from Real Madrid has struggled in recent weeks after a bright start to his career at Old Trafford, and he again found life difficult against the Eagles
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has admitted that winger Angel Di Maria struggled during his side's 1-0 victory against Crystal Palace.

The Argentine did lay on the decisive goal, scored by second-half substitute Juan Mata, but was withdrawn shortly afterwards, following on from three subdued displays against West Brom, Chelsea and Manchester City.

Van Gaal says his record signing did not have the best of afternoons, but says it was because it was not his ideal type of match.

"Yeah but also for him it was more difficult because the space is very small, especially when you are a player who likes to dribble," he told MUTV. "He had to dribble around a lot of players. It was more a passing game.

Van Gaal also denied that Mata changed the game when he came off the bench just after the hour mark.

The Spain international replaced Adnan Januzaj but was forced into playing on the right-hand side with Wayne Rooney playing in a central role behind Robin van Persie.

And though Van Gaal refused to admit Mata altered the way in which the game was heading, he did praise the former Chelsea man for doing the important thing and finding the net.

"It doesn't change the fomation or the style of play but he scored and that is the most important thing."

The win over the Eagles was United's first in four league matches, but they were frustrated by Neil Warnock's side for long period's before Mata's goal.

Frazier Campbell wasted a good chance for the visitors shortly before the break, but Van Gaal was pleased with the way his side dealt with the defensive style employed by the Selhurst Park outfit.

"It's always difficult to beat teams who are only defending and not attacking and they have very quick strikers so you have to always pay attention to it.

"In the first half we gave only one chance away, but in the second half we scored and that is the most important thing. After that we tried to kill the game.

"We didn't have to use [David] De Gea so much and we killed the game for the first time.

"Despite the fact we killed the game we had a lot of chances, because Rooney could score, Mata could score again and Van Persie could score."