Louis van Gaal rued a “stupid” moment from Anthony Martial but was happy with Manchester United’s overall performance at CSKA Moscow.
Martial scored a fine diving header to earn United a 1-1 draw in their third Champions League game at the Khimki Arena, but the Frenchman was to blame for gifting the Russians the lead.
Martial raised his right arm going into a challenge with Mario Fernandes in the 15th minute and the ball struck it, leaving the referee with no option but to point to the spot.
David de Gea saved Roman Eremenko’s penalty, but Seydou Doumbia scored the rebound to put CSKA ahead.
Martial’s second-half header saved United’s blushes, but their manager was disappointed with his star striker for the error that led to the hosts’ goal.
Van Gaal said: “They had the present of an Anthony Martial penalty.
“Martial is a human being, he reacts and it is a stupid reaction, but sometimes these things happen.
“He said it is the first time it happens to him, if it always happens with me it’s a pity.”
Draw deserved, says Van Gaal
Although Van Gaal was unhappy with the French teenager for effectively handing the hosts the lead, he was pleased to escape from his trip east with a point.
United froze in the first half on a sub-zero night in Russia, but improved after the break following the introduction of Marouane Fellaini and could have snatched all three points in the second half.
The draw leaves the Red Devils in second place in Group B at the halfway point of the group stages, with home matches against PSV and CSKA, as well as a trip to Wolfsburg, to come.
“I was very happy with the performance,” Van Gaal said.
“I knew in advance that it would be a very difficult game because CSKA are very well organised and compact.
“The tempo was too slow in my opinion, I said that at half-time, and improve our tempo and switching the game from side to side.
“We did that better in the second half than the first half. We created more chances and could have won, but I think it is a deserved draw.
“I will be happy with a draw better than a win, we now have two home matches and you can say we are very strong at home and I hope we can win these games so we are nearly qualified or qualified, but we also have a game away to Wolfsburg.
“We are on schedule (to qualify) after the PSV Eindhoven defeat, which was a very strange defeat for us.”