Van Gaal wary of Stoke City threat but wants to dominate

by Richard Laverty

Last season was the first time Manchester United had lost at Stoke since their promotion in 2008, an impressive feat when you take into account the difficulties other top teams have come across at the Britannia Stadium.

United have always held a good record against Stoke and despite being new to the league, Louis van Gaal seems well caught up on the issues that surround playing away at Stoke.

It will also be a good opportunity for the club to improve their away record this season, after recording their first wins away from home against Arsenal and Southampton, United have drawn with Aston Villa and Tottenham over the Christmas period.

A third away win would be a most welcome start to 2015 and van Gaal echoes the sentiment that the away form has to improve.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Van Gaal said: “We have only won at Arsenal, and Southampton when we were the lucky team.”

The manager’s not far wrong and it proves the theory that it is better to be lucky than good. United supporters can say they played much better at both Villa and Spurs yet came away with draws, the first 45 minutes at White Hart Lane was possibly the best the team have played away from Old Trafford all season.

Van Gaal has also spoke about dominating games and admits Ryan Giggs has been teaching him about going to Stoke’s ground.

He added: “Ryan tells me the pitch at Stoke is very difficult. But we have to dominate in away matches, in spite of that.”

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