Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal felt his side deserved to cling on to beat Stoke 2-1 last night – but was far from happy with their performance.
David de Gea produced two brilliant last-gasp saves and Ashley Young also cleared off the line in injury time as United held on to a 2-1 victory at Old Trafford.
Marouane Fellaini gave United a first-half lead and Juan Mata restored their advantage after a Steven Nzonzi equaliser – although Marcos Rojo also claimed to have got the final touch to the decisive strike.
But it was De Gea and Young who ensured United held on to record a fourth successive Premier League win, with Mame Biram Diouf twice denied and Marko Arnautovic also frustrated.
Van Gaal said: “I am not happy with the performance overall.
“I was not pleased with the first half.
“We were not as aggressive as in the last match against Hull and we want to play in the same style.
“I think we didn’t keep our positions on the pitch so we didn’t create so many chances in the first half.
“Okay the goal was a very nice goal, but the opponents didn’t do anything, only defending.
“In the second half we played much better, kept the positions, were more aggressive – but then you have to finish it.
“James Wilson could have finished it, Fellaini could have finished it.
“In England when it is like that you know the coach of the other team shall do something and, with Peter Crouch, we knew in advance it would be difficult to defend long balls and it took a great save from De Gea and a little bit of luck from Ashley Young.
“But you have to see the whole match and say there is one team that deserved it and that is Manchester United.”
Although Van Gaal felt the performance was unconvincing, a momentum is starting to build behind United.
After an indifferent start to the season, the Red Devils are fourth in the table and just a point behind third-placed Southampton despite a lengthy injury list.
Van Gaal said: “Maybe we forced the luck more and that is coming also because of the fighting spirit.
“When you see the team like this, that is why the fans are also excited.
“We have fought until the end and also despite the long balls to Crouch, we have survived.
“It is good for the players, good for the team, good for me and it is also good for the Christmas party we will be having tomorrow.”