Boxing Day: Stoke City 2-0 Manchester United 

Was it the last match coached by Dutch Louis van Gaal? The probability for him to finis the year 2015 at the head of Man Untd is getting slimmer everyday. Manchester United is in crisis in a midst of a terrible month of December and most likely have given up any title hopes after this new defeat:

Coach van Gaal reacts:

My thoughts are that we didn’t dare to play football in the first half and then we gave a very bad goal away. That was too much. They scored from a free-kick and then it was half-time. We have spoken with each other and I have to say the second half was much better, we created one or two chances and you have to score. Then the belief is coming back and we played better in the second half, but the problem is we didn’t dare to play. That is my analysis.”  

On his team selection: “I am always very faithful [to the players] and I see also how they have trained, they wanted to perform well but the circumstances are also difficult. It is not only the circumstances with the wind but also with the pressure [on the players]. That is in my opinion the reason why they didn’t dare to play football. In the second half we were in a losing position and then you can give everything more easily. That is what we have done.”

On whether he is the man to motivate the players: “That is now the big issue, I have tried to do everything but the pressure shall be higher and higher with every match. That is the problem now. It is more difficult because I am also part of the four matches we have lost so people are looking at me and I have to deal with that, but more importantly the players have to deal with that because they are the ones who have to perform.”

On his pre-match press conference and the message he conveyed: “My message was that the media are saying and writing things that are not happening inside Manchester United. That was my message and not that I am hurt, because I am used to that.” 

“You can say we can quickly get revenge for this defeat against Chelsea but in the time in between, you have to recover because the players have given everything and then you have to manage that you are very confident to start the game, and that you dare to play our football – our football! It is very difficult to do that in just two days but we shall try.”