Louis Van Gaal will be thinking when not if now, after Manchester United put in another inept performance, crashing to Stoke City 2-0 in this English Premier League Boxing Day clash which only ever looked like going one way.

Having outclassed Manchester City at the Britannia earlier this season, this was another outstanding performance from Stoke City, with the likes of Bojan Krkic, Ibrahim Afellay and Marko Arnautovic impressing again.

Two of those – Bojan and Arnautovic – scored the goals in the space of seven first half minutes to pile the misery on Manchester United, who, for the most part, looked bereft of ideas again going forward.

With that tight defence looking increasingly leaky, there really is no hiding for Manchester United anymore.

The first goal, though, was gifted by Manchester United, with Memphis Depay failing to clear a simple ball, underhitting his header to David De Gea and with it gifting the ball to Glen Johnson. The Stoke City right-back picked out Bojan perfectly with a cutback, and the former Barcelona man made absolutely no mistake with the finish.

If that 19th minute goal wasn't enough, Stoke went 2-0 ahead on 26 minutes, and this was courtesy an absolute cracker from Arnautovic. Bojan saw a freekick crash into the wall and the ball fell for Arnautovic around 25 yards away from goal. The Austrian is in such form that he has the confidence to go for the big strike from distance; go for it he did and the ball smashed into the top corner, giving David De Gea, diving to his right, absolutely no chance.

Manchester United never really looked like getting back into the game, even with plenty of time left in it to give it a real go, and that, at the end of the day, is something Van Gaal will struggle to explain.

A defensive mistake and a stunning strike is fine, but to not reply with vigour and verve is something that will cause plenty of worry.

Jose Mourinho will be wondering when that call is coming in.