The presence of Stephen Ireland was unable to prevent Stoke City from suffering a fourth consecutive loss in the league.
They were beaten 2-1 by a resurgent Manchester United, who have been making their way of the table in the last few weeks. Louis Van Gaal’s has managed to secure four wins on the bounce as a result of this victory. However, Stoke City manager Mark Hughes felt that his team deserved at least a point especially after having come very close to getting an equaliser on several occasions. Ireland did not complete the full 90 minutes after being substituted with nine minutes of normal time remaining.
Stoke were beaten 1-0 by Liverpool only a few days ago. It has been a poor start to the hectic December schedule for Hughes, whose team have looked good away from home this season. It has helped them get unlikely victories against the likes of Manchester City and Tottenham. Stoke appeared to have done enough to secure an away point when they equalised through Steven Nzonzi. United midfielder Marouane Fellaini had opened the scoring in the 21st minute. However, a brilliant freekick from Juan Mata in the 59th minute was enough to secure victory even though Stoke came very close with an injury time shot from Diouf.
“We’re left shaking our heads again because this is another game, another stadium we’ve come to – one of the big five or six clubs in this league – and given a great account of ourselves. We’re desperately disappointed once again not to take something out of the game.At the end of the game we had two or three clear-cut chances with just that luck of the ball on the line. We’re talking a hair’s breadth of it (Diouf) being a goal and not being a goal, so that’s how it’s going for us at the moment,” said Hughes.