Van Gaal: Manchester United defenders are too short to deal with Stoke City

A lack of height at the back led to an early concession from a corner at the Britannia Stadium on Thursday, with the Red Devils boss noting that it is a recurring problem

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal feels that his side were punished for a lack of height at the back in their 1-1 draw with Stoke City.

The Red Devils conceded within the first two minutes at the Britannia Stadium on New Year’s Day when Peter Crouch headed a corner into the path of Ryan Shawcross, who side-footed home.

Van Gaal lamented the recurring problem of his side’s inability to impose themselves physically at the back and told reporters: “Stoke City deserved more the victory. I cannot say we were the better team.

“We started very badly. When you concede from a set-play that you have prepared and they scored the same way we had told, that was a big disappointment.

“But it is difficult to defend when we are not so tall. Steven N’Zonzi is taller and Crouch is taller so it is not so easy. We have to play always those kind of games because the opponent is always taller than us. It is not the first goal we receive like that.”

Asked if he would look to buy a more physical centre-back in January, however, Van Gaal replied: “No, we want to play another kind of football than Stoke City.

“We had a lot of time and space but we need to pass the ball quicker,” the Dutchman continued in his assessment of a frustrating performance, “and our crosses were not so good.”

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