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Manchester United scramble point at Stoke thanks to Radamel Falcao goal

The momentum is no longer with Manchester United and they can count themselves fortunate to have escaped with a point from a blustery Britannia Stadium. Louis van Gaal made no attempt to sugarcoat United’s poor performance on an afternoon when Stoke City were left to lament some suspect refereeing from Michael Oliver, poor finishing from Mame Diouf and the moment when the woodwork denied Peter Crouch a possible winner.

After six successive victories prompted talk of United joining the title race, Louis van Gaal has now endured the frustration of watching his side draw three of their past four matches. The United manager has railed against the manic festive schedule – the sight of Ashley Young pulling a hamstring in the second half strengthened his argument about the dangers of the fixture pile-up – but the Dutchman had no complaints about the result here. “I think Stoke City deserved the victory more,” Van Gaal said.

Related: Manchester United’s defensive failings quieten Premier League title talk | Paul Wilson

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