Louis van Gaal has said that Manchester United must "dare to play football" against champions Chelsea on 28 December after their demoralising defeat at Stoke City on Boxing Day. First-half goals from Bojan Krkic and Marko Arnautovic saw the Red Devils lose their fourth successive game in all competitions, ratcheting up further pressure on Van Gaal.
The former Netherlands boss complained after the defeat that United "didn't dare to play our football" and added that he may choose to resign if United's form did not improve soon. However, in a later interview with MUTV, Van Gaal issued a rallying call to his players and admitted that he was concerned about the short turnaround between the Stoke and Chelsea fixtures.
"You can say we can quickly get over this defeat by playing against Chelsea but in the time in between, you have to recover because the players have given everything," Van Gaal said. "Then you have to manage that you are very confident to start the Chelsea game, and that you dare to play football – our football. It is very difficult to do that in just two days but we shall try," he explained.
'Focus on Chelsea'
Red Devils midfielder Michael Carrick echoed his manager's sentiment and urged his teammates to regroup quickly and forget about the Stoke defeat. "Football can change quickly. At the moment it is tough to take and it is going to hurt for a couple of days," he told MUTV.
"So we have to get our heads right for Monday. It can turn around quickly and if we get a good win then the feeling comes back. Hopefully we will be able to kick on from that," the midfielder stressed.
Chelsea drew 2-2 with Watford in their first match under interim boss Guus Hiddink on Boxing Day. The Blues are unbeaten in their last eight matches against United in all competitions, winning five of those fixtures.