Updated: Monday, 19th February 2018 @ 4:22pm

Man Utd's 'crazy' Van Gaal not mad about performances as Red Devils stay fourth

Man Utd's 'crazy' Van Gaal not mad about performances as Red Devils stay fourth

| By Patric Ridge

Louis van Gaal is striving for perfection after Manchester United sealed their fourth consecutive victory against Stoke City on Tuesday night.

United edged out Mark Hughes’ visitors 2-1 at Old Trafford thanks to goals from Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata.

But Van Gaal has insisted that despite the Reds picking up their fourth win on the bounce, he knows that there is still room for improvement.

"In the first half we were not aggressive enough and also we didn't keep out positions on the pitch so I wasn't pleased at half-time," said Van Gaal, whose side was missing key performers Angel Di Maria and Wayne Rooney for the Stoke clash.

"I'm always impressed by our performance than by the result. I'm a very crazy coach. I want a better performance.

"Against Hull City I liked our performance, but today it could have been better."

Fellaini’s first Old Trafford goal in a United shirt had put the hosts ahead after 21 minutes with a towering back post header, though Stoke leveled through Steven N'zonzi’s stinging drive just prior to the break.

But Van Gaal’s men retook the lead midway through the second period when Juan Mata’s free-kick looped through a crowd of players and nestled into the net.

Stoke almost struck back through former United striker Mame Biram Diouf late on but David de Gea pulled off a stunning save before Ashley Young made a dramatic goal-line clearance in the fourth minute of injury time.

And Van Gaal was pleased with his side’s resolute defending, which has seen them maintain their position in the top four.

"I think the second half was much better. We created more chances, we scored, but we need to score more goals,” he added.

"You know that (Peter) Crouch is coming on and the long balls are coming, but I'm very happy that we held this result until the end.

"The last few minutes were not necessary. We have struggled till the end and in the Premier League it is common but I'm happy with the result. It's our fourth victory in a row which is also important.

"I had to select a new line-up, but I don't want to talk about the injuries. I want to talk about the players who gave us this result. They fought until the end.”

Main image courtesy of BBC via YouTube, with thanks.