Jesse Lingard has admitted he has spent the last couple of weeks putting in extra training sessions to improve his finishing, after being instructed by Louis Van Gaal to be more composed in front of goal.
The 23-year-old scored a brilliant, if ultimately not winning, goal against Chelsea on Sunday and has looked a lot sharper in the final third since his miss against Newcastle a few weeks ago arguably costed United the game.
Manchester United have not given up the fight to clinch a top four finish this season, despite being six points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City, said Michael Carrick.
United dropped two points away at Stamford Bridge on Sunday when they conceded a late equaliser, meaning they’re now six points behind Manuel Pellegrini’s men, which still have to welcome United at the Etihad, and with a largely inferior goal difference.
Louis Van Gaal’s philosophy has found a surprising fan as Chris Smalling revealed he has been impressed with the Dutchman’s approach and his capacity to listen to his players.
After a torrid couple of months, United appear to be slightly turning their fortunes around, as back-to-back wins against Derby County and Stoke City were followed by an impressive display away against Chelsea, where United were only minutes short of winning the game.
Juan Mata was instrumental in Manchester United’s 3-0 win against Stoke on Tuesday night, as the Spaniard pulled the strings superbly, as his side played with an attacking intent they had not shown at any other stage of the season.
Deployed in his favourite number 10 role, the former Chelsea man, who scored against Derby a few days earlier, was mightily impressive alongside Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial. Louis Van Gaal has suggested Mata will continue to be selected in his favourite position as long as he continues to control games the way he did against the Potters, adding Mata had only himself to blame for being deployed in a different role.
Louis Van Gaal has rubbished Wayne Rooney’s suggestions that Manchester United have rediscovered their attacking instinct because they’ve been allowed to play with more freedom by their manager.
United have scored six goals in their last two games in all competitions and their performance against Stoke on Tuesday night, arguably the best attacking display they’ve produced under Van Gaal, prompted Rooney to claim a different approach was the reason behind United’s new-found scoring form.
Attacking football made a rare appearance at Old Trafford on Tuesday night, as Manchester United swept aside Stoke City, scoring three goals at home for the second consecutive game but only for the first time at home since they beat Sunderland by the same scoreline in September.
United carried on where they had left off at Derby, starting the game on the front foot and never allowed Stoke to settle, inspired by some wonderful individual performances from Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney, who both got on the scoresheet, and Juan Mata.
Here’s five things we’ve learnt from last night.