Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal felt his side were silencing their critics after one of their best displays of the season against Stoke at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.
United took another step in the right direction as goals from Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney swept Stoke aside 3-0 at Old Trafford, and speaking to Sky Sports after the match, Van Gaal admitted he was delighted by their display: “It was a great first half, we scored fantastic goals and we created more chances above that. In the second we controlled the game, scored the third goal. It was very good.
“I think in 2016 we have only lost against Southampton in the last minute. We have more confidence maybe. I cannot say we now have more confidence for certain because we lost to Southampton at home and that can never be.
“At home you have to win but I hope it gives us motivation to continue because in Derby we played very well also. Three goals eh? In a row!”
Van Gaal, speaking to BBC Sport, added: “I am a very happy coach because I have seen fantastic goals, team goals, where we are building up from the back and finishing like that, and also controlling the game in the second half.
“Michael Carrick said to me after the match that it is so different when you score the early goal. We had a lot of chances to score in the first half also in previous matches but you have to finish, and now we are finishing and still creating more.
“I think we have played in the first half attacking- wise very good. In the second half we were more controlling and we didn’t give any chances away against a team like Stoke. That is remarkable because they always make it difficult.”
De Gea hails important win
Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea added: “That was a really important game for us, three important points. They didn’t create many chances, we scored early and that was the key.
“We need to keep this tempo and try to get into the top four as soon as possible. We always try to play the same football; we believe in ourselves and we need to keep this level, play all the matches like today.”
Lingard, speaking to BBC Sport, added: “From the first whistle we were on top, we were sharp, that’s what we needed to do today. As soon as we scored the first we knew we’d score a second or a third.
“A result like that settles the nerves of the fans, the players, even the manager. Hopefully now we can go on a run, we’re looking forward to the Chelsea game.”