Under-pressure manager Louis van Gaal believes Man United 'must win' against Stoke
Louis van Gaal has admitted that Manchester United's Boxing Day clash with Stoke City is a 'must-win'.
The Dutch coach is under huge pressure with the Red Devils not winning any of their six previous matches, and just three of their last 13.
It is believed that Van Gaal has just two matches, against Stoke and then Chelsea on 28 December, to save his job.
After walking out of a press conference on Wednesday, where he demanded an apology from journalists for the way he had been treated, Van Gaal held an interview with the club's in-house TV channel, MUTV.
He was asked if the game is a "must-win". "Yes, I think so because when you have lost three times in a row to you need to win," he replied.
"But it's not easy. Stoke City have won also against Man City. It's a special ground. It's not easy, but there's a lot of circumstances where it's not suitable to always play good football."
Van Gaal added the team must improve their defensive organisation, but added that the team's fortunes can again change, as they have done from last month when they were top of the Premier League.
"I cannot say too loudly that we have to improve our defensive organisation. It is true it is always better that we keep a clean sheet, but we have to attack also and finish our chances - that is important. There are a lot of aspects we have to improve.
"One month ago, we were first in the Premier League. Everything has changed but it’s also possible to be, next month again, in the fighting position for a title. But we have to win first against Stoke City, that is the main focus."
Van Gaal said that United 'have to win', with the key to improve the confidence in his squad.
"The key is always communication, focus, evaluation of the match. How we've prepared and so on and so on. Our focus to the next match against Stoke City. We have to focus on that match and we have to win that match."
The Dutch coach also revealed that no other players have been injured.
"Yes, it's more or less the same. No difference. [Phil] Jones has played 90 minutes and no reactions, so that's a good signal. [Matteo] Darmian should come next week, maybe against Chelsea, we'll have to see that. Of course we have injuries that take a long time. [Antonio] Valencia, [Marcos] Rojo - you can't change that."
Speaking earlier, club captain Wayne Rooney said that the players were "fighting" for the Van Gaal's future.
"We're fighting for the manager and trying to get results to turn this around," Rooney, 30, told Sky Sports News.
"You have a lot of people talking about things they believe are happening when in reality the people writing that stuff don't know anything that's happening."
Independent News Service