Louis van Gaal hailed the “unbelievable” display of debutant Marcus Rashford after Manchester United thrashed Midtjylland 5-1 at Old Trafford to progress in the Europa League.
With Anthony Martial complaining of a hamstring injury in the warm-up, Rashford was thrown into the starting XI at the last minute and enjoyed a dream debut, scoring twice as United came from behind to progress to the last 16.
A shock for the ages was on the cards as Pione Sisto gave the visitors a 3-1 aggregate lead, but United fought back strongly and levelled on the night courtesy of a Nikolay Bodurov own goal before Juan Mata missed a penalty.
In the second half, Rashford netted a brace to turn the tie in his side’s favour, with Ander Herrera and the superb Memphis Depay adding further gloss to the scoreline.
“Unbelievable,” Van Gaal told BT Sport when quizzed on Rashford’s performance.
“In the first half he ran too much at the sidelines and I said that you have to be in the width of the goal and then you shall score.
“He scores two goals and it is fantastic for him.”
Van Gaal also played down the seriousness of Martial’s injury, although he did not shed any light on whether the Frenchman would be fit for the visit of Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday.
“I think he is smart and he is wise to step out because it’s not a rupture or anything like that, he had a tight hamstring, so I don’t think it is very heavy,” Van Gaal said.
“We still have to play Arsenal within two days, your players have to recover but we have to cope with that so we have to play Arsenal and I hope that it will be a very good match.
“It was a great performance. I think the fans shall have enjoyed our attacking football and although we were behind, normally you get a decline in confidence but it was not like that.
“We continued our game, scored, missed a penalty, unbelievable. And still we are going and going and going so I have to give a great compliment to my players because it’s not easy to do that.”