Speaking ahead of Manchester United’s visit to Stoke City on New Year’s Day, manager Louis Van Gaal has criticized the gruelling holiday schedule in England while claiming that his ‘philosophy’ is working at Old Trafford.

Sitting on the 3rd spot, 10 points below league leaders Chelsea, United travel to Stoke City (11th position) in search of three crucial points as they aim for a top 4 finish  this season. Manager Louis Van Gaal has criticized the FA and has claimed that it is a scientifically proven fact that one cannot play two games in a space of 48 hours.

“Everybody knows that a body cannot recover within 48 hours. Therefore, there is a rule at UEFA and FIFA that you cannot play games [in that time]. That’s scientifically proven. Everybody knows that and, in spite of that, we have to play. It’s the culture of England.”

The Dutchman believes that playing through such a hectic schedule severely affects the players and also has an impact on the quality of the games.

“I don’t mind but it is not good for the health of the players and it is not good for the game because I think the FA, and also the fans, want attractive games. You have seen the second half [at Tottenham]. You have seen the second half of Chelsea against Southampton.”

Having won 7 of their last 9 fixtures, United seem to be on the bend and Van Gaal believes that his players must now aim to dominate their away fixtures in order to resurrect their season.

“We have won every game except Swansea City at home, the first match – but away, only Arsenal and Southampton, when we were the lucky team. We have to dominate away matches and I hear from Ryan [Giggs] that Stoke City is a very difficult pitch.”

Van Gaal also claimed that despite the injuries, his ‘philosophy’ at Manchester United is working and that the team will only get better as more players return to match-fitneSs.

“I think everyone can see that we are improving every week in spite of a lot of injuries, and that’s because of the philosophy.

“I think the players understand the philosophy, and that’s why we are improving – but we can improve more when we have all the players available.”

The manager also spoke about the Manchester United fans and claims that the support he has received from them has been fantastic over the course of the season.

“The thing that has pleased me most is the fans, they are amazing. We started the season poorly, but in spite of that they have supported us, they have great belief in their squad and manager. I want to thank them because they’ve been very important in our weaker moments.”

“In terms of the team, I think it has to be our fighting spirit, and I think that’s why the fans have supported us every week. In some matches we’ve been behind, the players have had to fight until the end, and they’ve done that successfully.”

Van Gaal claimed that his side are only getting better with time and that the good ‘results’ are coming.

“It’s a process, and you can see every week that we are playing better. We are improving, and the results are coming. The first few games were a struggle, we played better than our opponents but lost a lot of points.”

“After seven wins in a row and two draws, we’re unbeaten for several weeks, but we can still improve. That’s more important, we can improve, and we have to improve.”

Visiting Stoke City on Thursday, Manchester United manager Van Gaal will hope for a win in order to kick off 2015 on a positive note.