Mark Hughes bemoaned Stoke’s inconsistency and the concession of an early goal in the 3-0 defeat to Manchester United on Tuesday night.
Potters boss Hughes could only watch on in despair as his team failed to repeat their heroics against Van Gaal’s side on Boxing Day.
Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial gave United a 2-0 lead at half-time before Wayne Rooney put the Potters out of sight with the Red Devils’ third early in the second period.
“The worst thing that can happen at Old Trafford is to concede early,” Hughes said.
“We talked about it before the game and that is what happened. Our performances are a bit erratic.
“That is the same team that did exceptionally well against Liverpool a few days ago.
“The difference is marked so we have to look at it and see why that happened.”
Hughes’ evening was not helped by an injury to Philipp Wollscheid, who hobbled off in the first half and was replaced by Phil Bardsley, who had a torrid night trying to contain Martial.
Hughes is already without Ryan Shawcross for at least the next fortnight due to injury so he hopes Wollscheid is not out for a long time.
“He felt his calf in the warm up and we tried to loosen it off but it was obvious he was struggling,” Hughes said of the German centre-back.
“We will have to check him. We are a bit threadbare in defensive areas so we have to hope we get some good news.”