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Van Gaal sees positive signs on injury front

Van Gaal was again forced to shuffle his pack for the 2-1 Premier League win over Stoke City at Old Trafford on Tuesday, with Wayne Rooney and Angel Di Maria missing out with injuries sustained against Hull City three days ago.

But United still collected their fourth successive league win as goals from Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata sandwiched Steven N'Zonzi's leveller.

With Van Gaal's men next in action six days from now at Southampton, the Dutchman is hoping to have more options at his disposal - although he does not expect Di Maria to be back in time.

He told Sky Sports: "Wayne will have a scan tomorrow [Wednesday] and then we will know more. 

"The injury of Di Maria is not so heavy and more players are coming back. We are seeing a little light at that end of the tunnel."

When asked in his press conference whether Di Maria would play next time out, Van Gaal replied: "I don't think so, but you never know."

While Van Gaal is no doubt relishing the prospect of having a full squad available, he also lauded United's ability to put together a good run in spite of their issues.

He added: "It's a great sign [that we are winning despite injuries]. It's not normal and again I had to select a new team because Rooney and Di Maria were out."

The victory did not come easily, with David De Gea producing two quality saves to thwart Mame Biram Diouf and Marko Arnautovic late on, before Ashley Young's goalline clearance also denied the former.

However, United managed to hold on, with Van Gaal adding: "I am very happy with the result. It's the fourth victory in a row. Tomorrow we have a [Christmas] party and it's good that I have won.

"I was not happy with the performance in the first half. We were better in the second half but we had to finish our chances.

"The saves of De Gea were great and we had a little bit of luck with Ashley Young. But if you look at the whole match, we were the team that deserved to win."