By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens

Michael Carrick has admitted Manchester United’s form is “horrible” as he reflected on the pain of a fourth consecutive defeat.

Louis van Gaal’s team lost 2-0 at Stoke on Boxing Day to follow losses at the hands of Wolfsburg, Bournemouth and Norwich.

United have now lost four competitive matches in a row within a single season for the first time since the 1961-62 campaign, and have extended their win-less streak to seven games.

They have slipped to sixth in the Premier League and will drop to seventh if Watford win at Chelsea later on Saturday afternoon.

“The situation we are in at the minute is tough,” Carrick told Sky Sports immediately after the match on Saturday. “It’s a horrible run, a horrible feeling, it hurts a lot.

“What else can I say? It’s hard to take. We’re not playing well enough as a team and as a squad. We take responsibility for that.

Louis van Gaal's position at Manchester United is under growing threat

Dark days: Van Gaal’s position is under growing threat at United

“It’s Manchester United we’re playing for, it’s a special club, it’s a privilege to play. We need to do better, it’s as simple as that.”

The position of manager Louis van Gaal is under growing threat but Carrick brushed aside concerns that the Dutchman has lost the United dressing room.

Asked if the players are still behind Van Gaal, Carrick said: “Of course. You can single anybody out in this situation. As a club we have to stick together and win football matches. We’ve all got to take responsibility for that.”