Louis van Gaal felt a sense of pride after seeing Manchester United battle their way to a 1-0 win over CSKA Moscow that sent them top of Champions League Group B.
A late goal from Wayne Rooney – his 237th for the club, drawing him level with Denis Law – proved enough for United, though they found it tough going against a resolute Russian defence at Old Trafford.
United could have even fallen behind had Seydou Doumbia not been denied by the combination of goalkeeper David de Gea and defender Chris Smalling in the second half.
Van Gaal’s decision to bring on Marouane Fellaini in place of Anthony Martial just after the hour was loudly booed by United’s supporters, though Rooney turned the jeers to cheers when he headed in the winner 11 minutes from time.
“I’m very happy with the result, but also the performance of my players,” the Dutchman said.
“They played so organised and so compact, it was not easy to disorganise them.
“We played only to score – they were only here to defend, though maybe with one chance. They got that one chance and could have scored.
“But I was very proud of my players. The goal was fantastic.”
Rooney’s effort ended a 404-minute drought for United in front of goal.
The skipper was in the right place to nod home Jesse Lingard’s cross, meaning only Bobby Charlton – who he displaced as England’s top scorer in September – now sits above the forward in the club’s all-time scoring charts.