United lose fourth straight game as pressure increases on Louis van Gaal

Stoke increased the pressure on Louis van Gaal as Manchester United suffered a fourth straight defeat in all competitions thanks to a 2-0 loss at the Britannia Stadium.

Speculation over Van Gaal’s future at Old Trafford had intensified before Christmas and his plight was not helped by first-half strikes from Bojan Krkic and Marko Arnautovic on Boxing Day.

Rooney had issued a rallying cry before his side’s trip to the Britannia, asking his team-mates to save the club’s season, but he was only handed a watching brief from the bench.

Wayne Rooney came on at the break in place of the disappointing Memphis Depay – whose gaffe gifted Stoke their opener – but was unable to inspire a United comeback.

Defeat means United, who face Chelsea on Monday, have lost four straight games in all competitions in a single season for the first time in 54 years and drop down to sixth on goal difference, while Stoke move up to eighth.