Former Manchester United winger Angel di Maria believes manager Louis van Gaal was to blame for his failure to live up to his potential at Old Trafford.Argentina international Di Maria joined the Red Devils from Real Madrid in the summer of 2014 for a then-British record fee of £59.7 million ($75m).But he struggled to perform on a consistent basis, contributing four goals and 12 assists in 32 appearances before departing for Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the 2014-15 campaign. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Di Maria, though, believes he could have offered so much more had Van Gaal, who was regularly criticised for his negative brand of football, allowed him to express himself further.”I only stayed for one year. It was not the best time of my career, or rather I was not allowed to spend my best time there,” he told France Bleu.”There were complications with the coach at the time.”But thank God, I was able to come to PSG and demonstrate again who I was.”Di Maria will return to Old Trafford with his PSG team-mates when the two sides meet in the last 16 of the Champions League.Despite being 13 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 and well on track to win a sixth French title in seven years, the Parc des Princes outfit have struggled to lay down a marker when it comes to their European performances.But, having come through a tough group containing Liverpool and Napoli, there is hope that Thomas Tuchel’s side have what it takes to challenge in Europe’s premier club competition.Di Maria, however, is wary of Man Utd’s upturn in form under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the Norwegian interim manager winning all six of his matches in charge since replacing Jose Mourinho on the touchline.”We still have matches before facing Manchester,” he added. “They have changed with their new coach and they have not lost a match.”I think we started the year not so well in the Champions League, but we put the situation right and we finished top of the group.”It was complicated. Ever since the draw it was said that it would be difficult to reach the round of 16 and we were almost eliminated, but we played a big home game against Liverpool and also against Red Star Belgrade – two big, decisive matches to qualify.”Now, we must think of ourselves and nothing but ourselves. If we do things well, everything will be fine.”
zoom A toxic mixture of overcapacity, weak demand and aggressive commercial pricing is threatening liner shipping industry profitability for the rest of 2015, according to global shipping consultancy Drewry.Drewry’s forecast that container shipping carriers might record profits of up to USD 8 billion in 2015, has been revised, as the consultancy believes that they should be lucky to break even this year with some lines expected to return to red by the end of 2015.Going forward, shipping lines will struggle to continue reducing unit costs in line with the expected erosion in freight rates, given stabilising bunker costs.Drewry estimates that this year average global freight rates will decline at their fastest pace since 2011, when the fall in industry unit revenue was as great as 10%. The outlook for freight rate development has not been helped by second quarter spot rates in the four main East-West head haul trades falling by 32% year-on-year.Neil Dekker, Drewry’s director of container shipping research said: “There are not enough good homes for ships of over 8,000 teu where they can be placed without doing some damage to the supply/demand balance. Ocean carriers do not want to idle these expensive assets. The orderbook is starting to get out of control, with another 1.14 million teu added since January. Carriers’ emphasis on ordering so many big ships is starting to backfire and virtually all major head haul trades are plagued by overcapacity. We are entering a new era which will be dominated by big ships and all ocean carriers need to be thinking of average head haul trade route fill factors of 80-85% as the norm, rather than 90% or more. They cannot keep adding capacity and expect there to be no substantial impact on unit revenues.”Average global head haul utilisation fell to 83% during Q12015Recent decision by the Ocean Three lines to remove approximately 4% of trade capacity on the Asia-North Europe trade should help the carriers’ July and August GRI initiatives to push rates up. But Drewry believes that more decisive action is required here and elsewhere since void sailings are only a very temporary solution. As many as 129 ships of 8,000 teu and above still need to find homes across a number of trades in the second half of 2015.“However, the perceived weakness pushed many lines into rate-war mode across a number of key trade routes. With the exception of the westbound Transatlantic and Asia to Middle East trades, rarely have we seen so many major routes performing so poorly all at once. Spot freight rates have reached historical lows on the Asia to Europe and Asia to East Coast South America trades, which have been driven by carriers’ fear of losing volume base cargo to competitors as well as impending new build deliveries,” Drewry said.Each quarter brings another 10 to 15 ULCVs (Ultra Large Container Vessels) into the market and the resultant cascade of tonnage into the Transpacific, Latin American and Asia-Middle East trades is having a genuine detrimental knock-on effect.