Louis van Gaal believes that “the years are catching up” with Manchester City centre-back Martin Demichelis in light of Manchester United’s 1-0 victory over their ‘noisy neighbours’ on Sunday.
The Argentine defender was culpable for letting Marcus Rashford score after 16 minutes when the 18-year-old spun Demichelis with ease on the edge of the box before sliding home the winning goal.
Demichelis continued to struggle against the likes of Rashford and Anthony Martial until he was subbed off in the second half. Van Gaal, who knows Demichelis well from his time at Bayern Munich, spoke after the game about how Rashford exposed the 35-year-old’s lack of sharpness.
“Rashford is very quick and Demichelis looked like the years are catching up with him,” van Gaal said.
“He was a very good defender, he was my centre-back in Bayern but that is the life of football.”
With City’s Vincent Kompany and Nicholas Otamendi both injured for Sunday’s game, much was made of the prospect of seeing the ageing Demichelis go up against the pace of Rashford and Martial.
Nobody, however, could have imagined the sheer magnitude of the Argentine’s humiliation at the hands of Rashford. The 18-year-old, in one sumptuous motion, left a defender with 170 appearances for Bayern in a miserable daze, and in doing so effectively ended any hopes of City winning the title this season. Manuel Pellegrini’s decision to bring him off was a sign of resignation and acceptance – youthful enthusiasm had prevailed over experience to an emphatic extent.