Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal hopes captain Wayne Rooney will enjoy a strong goalscoring run after his strike against Everton on Saturday.
Rooney scored his first Premier League goal since August and his first at Goodison Park since 2007 to cap a convincing 3-0 victory for United.
Van Gaal insists Rooney’s game is about much more than scoring goals but he admits the England captain was in need of a lift after some criticism of his form in the top flight.
“You are always doubting him! I have to say he can score, and he has,” he said when asked if Rooney had silenced critics. “I’m very happy for him but for me it’s not important if he’s not scoring. He has to be an attacking point and do his job in a defensive organisation.
“Maybe it’s a start for many, many goals, because he needed this goal, I think.”
He added: “It was a very good performance. I said to my players that I was very proud of them, because it’s one of our best matches and we needed it,.
“You can say ‘clinical’ because we didn’t create so many chances but we scored three goals, though in the second half we could have scored more.
“We controlled the game I think for 80 minutes, and only when the referee gave free-kicks did Everton become dangerous.
“It was more than a response – that’s an understatement. It was very difficult to prepare this match because we lost the last match against Arsenal in a horrible way, so I had a lot of meetings, 10 to 15 between Wednesday and this match.”
Van Gaal, who confirmed Juan Mata’s withdrawal at half-time was a tactical change, singled out Ander Herrera for praise after he scored United’s second and set up Rooney for the third.
“I have seen a lot of individual players today who played very good. But the result was very good and so you get more confidence,” he added.
“I think I have to mention Ander Herrera. He played very well and had a great contribution in the goals.
“Of course, when Herrera plays like that, it’s difficult not to select him. But I can do that.”