Louis van Gaal hailed Marouane Fellaini’s late strike as the crucial goal as Manchester United secured a 3-1 win over Club Brugge in the UEFA Champions League.
Fellaini rose to meet a long diagonal ball from Memphis Depay in stoppage time at Old Trafford, the midfielder nodding past Sebastien Bruzzese to secure a two-goal cushion.
The Belgium international’s strike came after Depay had starred on his European debut for United, the 21-year-old netting twice in the first half with two precise finishes to open his account.
Van Gaal was delighted to have secured a first-leg victory in the play-off round, and believes Fellaini’s impact will be crucial in their hopes of reaching the group stages.
“It makes a difference because 2-1 is a very difficult result,” he told BT Sport. “We deserved much more because we created a lot of chances.
“It is what I am always saying, you have to be effective. We have a lot of chances and only three goals.
“I am happy because of the last goal. We have practiced that before when we need Fellaini, we put him in the penalty area because he has that quality.”
And Depay earned praise from his manager for a scintillating display.
Van Gaal added: “I am very happy for Memphis because a player needs that. I said it was a matter of time and hopefully he shall continue.
“He is 21 and he has only played two seasons for PSV. I have confidence in him.”
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