Louis van Gaal has lamented the way Manchester United allowed Stoke City to take an early lead during the 1-1 draw on Thursday afternoon.
Less than two minutes into the match and with three players surrounding Peter Crouch, the obvious target man, pulled away and headed the ball towards an unmarked Ryan Shawcross to score the opener.
It was typical of United’s defending this season and there was more calamity to come as Crouch continued to find space before poor defending from Jonny Evans allowed Mame Biram Diouf a free effort on goal.
Van Gaal was clearly frustrated after the match given the special attention United had given to Crouch during training before the match.
“We knew that was happening,” said the manager.
“We had two meetings and we knew Crouch would do that but they were totally free.”
The fact United allowed such a simple goal to go past them is all the more astonishing given Van Gaal’s revelation regarding the attention given to Crouch in the build-up to the match.
With all defenders now fit, Van Gaal will at least hope some continuous partnerships at the back will make for better defending all round.