Manchester United have made it 4 wins on the trot after a 2-1 win over Stoke City at Old Trafford, with goals from Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata.
After a disastrous start to the season, Louis van Gaal’s Man United seem to have picked up some momentum, winning their 4th game on the trot, and with it gaining a lot of confidence as well. For quite a while now, Man United have been well short of confidence even when playing a relatively small team that they would expect to beat without too much of a problem. But off late, it had become such that every team that did play United felt they had a definite chance of winning.
However, that wasn’t the case tonight. 2 players who were part of the David Moyes era and much maligned because of it turned goal scorers and gave the club their 4th win on the trot. The first goal was scored by Marouane Fellaini, after Stoke allowed Herrera enough space to free himself and lob the ball to Fellaini who sent in a strong header that no one could stop.
There was a scare for Man United not long after, when Stoke levelled the score, but this not the United of old that would have a panic attack and throw. Rather, they were still confident, played some neat football and then went ahead with a goal from Mata. They then held on for the rest to pick up another important 3 points.
Afterwards, Louis van Gaal said, “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 (the players). The second half was better, we created more chances but we need to score more goals.
“Then Peter Crouch comes on, you know the long balls are coming and it is always difficult. But I’m pleased we held this result. The last few moments were not necessary, but it is always like that. We have struggled until the end in the Premier League. It is common.
“I’m happy with the result. Tomorrow we have a Christmas party and it’s important we enjoy that.”
Stoke manager Mark Hughes was not happy with the second goal, claiming it was an offside. He said, “On the balance of play, we were very much in the game, especially in the first half. It was a really good performance and we picked ourselves up from the disappointment of conceding early on.
“We are disappointed with the award of the second goal. We clearly think it is offside. It doesn’t matter if he (Rojo) touches it, he is clearly offside and interfering with play.
“He was ahead of the ball in an offside position. The referee and assistant should have cancelled that out. We didn’t allow that to affect us but the episodes at the end… it was unbelievable, demonstrating the sort of luck we are having at the moment.”
If they can keep the winning run going, Man United will have a great shot at returning to Champions League football. But they cannot afford to drop any points, as this season there is a lot of competition for the top 4 places.