Manchester United ended their long wait for a first-half goal at home as they further eased the pressure on Louis van Gaal with a comfortable 3-0 Premier League win over Stoke City on Tuesday. United, who had not netted in the opening 45 minutes at Old Trafford since a 2-1 Champions League victory over Wolfsburg on September 30, got back to winning ways in the league in fine style.
Van Gaal’s men responded to their home defeat to Southampton with a 3-1 win at Derby County in the FA Cup and carried the momentum into the visit of Stoke – whose recent disappointing form continued. Stoke won the reverse fixture on Boxing Day 2-0, but this encounter represented a complete sea change from the one at the Britannia Stadium, with Jesse Lingard needing just 14 minutes to head United in front.
Nine minutes later United were 2-0 up thanks to Anthony Martial’s superb finish and there proved to be no way back for a Stoke side that has won only one of their last five league matches.