Louis van Gaal declared himself “a happy coach” after Manchester United eased to a 3-0 League Cup win over Ipswich Town.
The Dutchman, wary of suffering a repeat of last season’s 4-0 loss to MK Dons in the competition, named a surprisingly strong XI.
He was rewarded, too, as Wayne Rooney put aside questions over his form to open the scoring, before Andreas Pereira curled home a stunning free-kick in his first competitive start.
A fine night for the hosts, which saw Phil Jones play for the first time this campaign following a blood clot, was capped when big-money signing Anthony Martial made it four goals in as many games after coming off the bench.
Van Gaal was naturally delighted, telling MUTV: “The result was great. We don’t have injuries. Jones has played a lot of minutes, so I’m a happy coach.”
While Jones’ comeback is a welcome boost, it is Martial who has revitalised the United fans following his promising start to life at Old Trafford.
The boss added: “He knows that he can score and he can score because of his fellow players. We made it very easy for him two times because we’d won the game and the gaps are existing.
“With his speed and composure he can score. He did it against Liverpool and now again. We are happy but still we have to keep our feet on the ground.”
The performance of Pereira will also give Van Gaal a headache, with the Brazilian belying his inexperience to put in a man-of-the-match display.
“He had a big participation in that game because he shoots the free-kick in a fantastic way,” admitted Van Gaal.
“He’s been training on that. Like all the other players there is space for improvement for Pereira.”
United will face Championship opposition again in the next round, with Middlesbrough set to visit Old Trafford.
Van Gaal knows the promotion favourites will pose a threat, saying: “It is one of the top clubs in the Championship so it is not so easy. I am very happy with the result.
“I am happy we are playing at home. We are travelling a lot so it is good to stay at home.”