Louis van Gaal said he could not have asked for anything more from new signing Anthony Martial after the Manchester United striker scored on his debut to seal a vital 3-1 victory over Liverpool.
Daley Blind and Ander Herrera were also on target at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday, but the 19-year-old’s late solo goal stole the show after Christian Benteke had scored at the other end with a magnificent overhead kick.
Van Gaal was again keen to stress there would be ups and downs with Martial, but he felt the big-money signing had made a superb start to his career at the club.
“When you make a goal like Anthony you cannot wish for more,” the Dutchman said.
“He has been with us for three days and that is too short to judge his personality, but he has made a very good impression in first three days – that is why I selected him to be on the bench.
“The goal was marvellous and physically he showed he can play in the Premier League. It was also a good match for him to come on because Liverpool had to come out and we were ahead. He had a lot of space, so it was easier to bring him on. We know he can dribble, he has pace, but his finish was fantastic.
“When then there is a young man who is 19 years old and he scores a fantastic goal at the right moment, as a manager you can only be happy there. It was fantastic, I cannot deny that. But he is still 19 years old, he has to adapt to a new culture and the high rhythm of the Premier League.
“A lot of players have made a debut and scored with me so it is a good signal. We have scouted him and we wanted him because he is the best in his age, but he needs time.
“It shall give him a boost, but still we cannot expect from players of that age that they have the consistency. You cannot ask that. You can ask that from Bastian Schweinsteiger and Michael Carrick but not for players of 19, 20 and 21.
“When you see how much players we have that age you will see we have built up a team. I am very happy that I have the possibility to build that but it will go with ups and downs.”
Van Gaal also provided an update on the fitness of Wayne Rooney and revealed his captain, who missed the game with a hamstring injury, was also likely to be missing for the UEFA Champions League opener against PSV on Tuesday.
“I don’t think he should play against PSV,” he said. “We don’t want to take any risks with our captain, but you never know.
“It is Saturday and we still have Sunday and Monday. It is a minor injury, but I don’t want to take risks and I believe he shall instead play against Southampton.”
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