Four wins on the spin. The club’s Christmas party is tomorrow. All is well at Old Trafford after a turbulent 12 months. Or so we thought.
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Speaking after Manchester United’s hard-fought 2-1 win over Stoke City on Tuesday, Louis van Gaal expressed his displeasure with the performance but is happy the Red Devils keep winning despite all their issues.
“It was not our best performance. We were not aggressive enough in the first half, we didn’t keep our position on the pitch. I was not pleased at half time – and I told them,” van Gaal said. “The second half was better, we created more chances but we need to score more goals… I’m happy with the result – tomorrow we have a Christmas party and it’s important we can enjoy that.”
United went ahead through Marouane Fellaini’s header but were pegged back by a stunner from Steven N’Zonzi just before half time. In the second half Juan Mata whipped in a free kick which missed everyone and the ball found the back of the net for the game-winner.
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Van Gaal’s side could have added to their tally — with chances for Fellaini and James Wilson the best of the bunch — but they almost blew it late on as Mame Diouf forced David De Gea into a fine stop and then had another effort blocked on the line in stoppage time. Van Gaal understood that can happen and was relatively pleased with the outcome as United were without Wayne Rooney and Angel Di Maria through injury.
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The Red Devils are now in fourth spot and with four-straight wins under their belt, they head to Southampton next Monday full of confidence and eager to keep their good run going. Without several starting defenders and a new philosophy being ushered in by LVG, United’s players are coping well.
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That said, van Gaal isn’t allowing his players to rest on their laurels. But he didn’t rule out a charge for the title, as United sit just two points off second-placed Manchester City but have played a game more. This Christmas Old Trafford is likely to be a much happier place, as van Gaal’s revolution is gathering momentum in the red half of Manchester.