Louis van Gaal believes the end of Wayne Rooney’s goal drought will boost the Manchester United captain’s confidence but took no extra pleasure in seeing him break his duck.
Rooney netted his first Premier League goal in 1,000 minutes as United cruised to a 3-0 win over Sunderland on Saturday in a game that also saw Memphis Depay score his maiden league goal since joining from PSV in first-half stoppage time.
Juan Mata was also on the scoresheet in a win that took United to the top of the table.
Van Gaal said: “I’m a happy coach because Depay and Rooney have scored in the Premier League now, that’s fantastic for the confidence.
“I was not pleased because you know that Rooney shall score. He did it but it could also be against Wolfsburg [on Wednesday] but, for me, when we beat Wolfsburg and [goalkeeper David] De Gea scores the goal I am also happy.”
Asked if his side can win the league, Van Gaal said: “It is difficult to answer. To continue is very difficult in this league.
“Last year [when United finished fourth] we had the feeling that we could win the league. This year it is a big difference, you can start better from the top than the bottom but it shall be very difficult.
“In May you can ask me the same question and I can answer more precisely. It’s not that I expected 16 points out of seven games but I know how we can play as a team.
“I think Manchester United can win against every team but you need also luck and today [Saturday] the luck was in the last minute of the first half.
“Of course it was a wonderful goal but it is in the last minute and it was more or less a punishment because they waste so many time in the first half Sunderland.”