Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal hailed Sunday’s 4-2 derby win over Manchester City as his ‘best feeling’ of the 2014/15 campaign.
Goals from Ashley Young, Marouane Fellaini, Juan Mata and Chris Smalling helped the Reds overcome any early deficit and win their sixth consecutive English Premier League fixture.
“Maybe the best feeling but not the best performance because we started very badly, more or less like against Burnley, I believe,” LVG said.
“But after the assist of David de Gea, more or less we are regaining our confidence. We scored a goal, we scored a second goal – a fantastic attack.
“The second half was fantastic, I think.”
During the post-match press conference, Van Gaal was full of praise for Belgium international midfielder Marouane Fellaini, who repeatedly stormed forward to unnerve City’s defence.
“The fans also see that he is very important for the team,” Van Gaal said of the Belgian. “He scores goals, he gives pressure when we need it and he plays always the ball to the same colour. I’m very happy for him.”
Van Gaal added: “When you see how the fans are responding to the substitutions of Mata or Fellaini or Phil Jones – standing ovations; [this is] fantastic for the players, I think.”
United (19-8-5) are now four points of City for third-place in the league table, i.e. the final automatic UEFA Champions League qualifying place.
Alderweireld not thinking about Saints’ future
Belgium international defender Toby Alderweireld has revealed he is fully focused on Southampton’s push for European football, insisting he is not thinking about where his future lies.
Alderweireld, who is currently on loan at Southampton from Atletico Madrid, has been linked with the likes of Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur despite the Saints having an option to make the loan deal permanent for just £6.8 million.
However, according to reports, Atletico can cancel the buy-out clause by paying the Saints £1.5 million.
“I saw something in the Spanish papers,” Alderweireld said. “I don’t know, I didn’t hear from them. We will see.
“It is not [frustrating] because it does not matter what they say, what is in the papers.
“I am just focused on Southampton and we are playing for a European spot, so it is going to be a special season.
“I am focused, I am happy here, so, yeah, no problem for me.”
Alderweireld, whose current contract at the Estadio Vicente Calderón is set to expire in the summer of 2017, has scored one goal in 20 league appearances for Southampton this season.