Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has praised the form of Jesse Lingard after the 22-year-old scored his first goal for the club against West Brom.
Lingard set up Wayne Rooney’s winner against CSKA Moscow on Tuesday and struck a sublime goal in Saturday’s 2-0 win over the Baggies at Old Trafford to continue his impressive run of performances.
Van Gaal revealed he rejected loan offers during the transfer window for the England Under-21 international and is delighted to see him taking his opportunity in the first team.
“Last year I put him in the line-up in the first game against Swansea City because he impressed me,” the Dutchman said. “He got a very heavy injury in that game and had to rehabilitate, which takes a long time.
“I told him at the beginning of the season ‘I want to keep you’. He has had to wait but now he is in better shape. Now he is playing and playing very well.”
Van Gaal had earlier told Sky Sports of Lingard’s goal: “It is a beautiful goal. I’m a happy coach. We have said many, many times to him, always control before you shoot.
“In the training session he missed two balls because he shoots directly. He was fantastic.
“It is a hard win. We have to wait a long time again before we scored, but we scored and that’s important. I’m very happy.”
United fans were once again heard chanting ‘attack, attack, attack’ as the home side found it difficult to turn their territorial dominance into clear-cut chances against West Brom’s disciplined defence.
Van Gaal understands the crowd’s frustration but hopes to see opposition managers abandon the same defensive systems now they have seen Tony Pulis’s side come away with a defeat.
“I know the feeling of the fans,” Van Gaal said. “We have to attack better against these defensive organisations but it’s the most difficult way you can play as a team. It is good that we have won because the next manager won’t choose this strategy so easily.
“It is good that they can do that but we can say: ‘OK, but still you lose’.”