Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal considered taking Ander Herrera off before the midfielder’s starring role against Club Brugge.
The Spaniard was booked in just the 13th minute at the Jan Breydelstadion before setting up one of Wayne Rooney’s three goals and scoring one of his own in United’s 4-0 win on Wednesday.
That came after his first start of the season was almost ended prematurely, with Van Gaal worried about 26-year-old early on.
The Dutchman said he was close to substituting Herrera before his turnaround, one the manager was delighted with.
“He [Herrera] started not so good, I think,” Van Gaal said.
“He had a lot of ball losses and also a yellow card, so it was at the moment that I wanted to change him, but then I saw that he was coming back.
“And then after that moment he plays a good match, I think, on the double-six position, but later on [at] 10 he was better. So I’m very pleased also for him.”
The win, which completed a 7-1 aggregate victory, means United have kept four clean sheets in five competitive games this season.
Van Gaal was thrilled with the defensive performance and his team’s approach in the attacking third.
“We have already believed, I don’t believe that it shall change. Then we need more victories like this,” he said.
“For the fourth time, a clean sheet and we created a lot of chances, because Brugge must come, of course and they were very open for us, so it was relatively easy.
“But you have to do it. It is not so easy, as everybody thinks. But I was happy.”