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Van Gaal explains Di Maria striker role

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has revealed why he has chosen to play Angel Di Maria as a striker in recent weeks, citing the Argentina international's pace as the reason for his decision.

The former Barcelona coach has been criticised for leaving Wayne Rooney in midfield and deploying Di Maria further forward in recent fixtures against Southampton and QPR.

The €78 million signing from Real Madrid has struggled to threaten in front of goal in his new role, but Van Gaal believes that the risk he has taken in playing Di Maria out of position is paying off for the team.

"I think pace is always important, which is why we try to play with Angel Di Maria as a striker," he told MUTV following the win at Loftus Road.

"When I changed the shape, I wanted speed or pace also in the attacking line, that’s why I changed in that way. It’s a change in attack that brings lot of risk, but we have won 2-0 and I think it was deserved."

The Dutch boss also looked to praise his defence as they registered a clean sheet against the Rs at Loftus Road.

"The defensive organisation has been good from the beginning," he added.

"We have only one match against Leicester City that was five goals and, because of that, we had bad average against us, but I think we have a very good defensive organisation so that is not a problem."