Louis van Gaal expressed his delight with Manchester United’s build-up play after they cruised to a 3-0 Premier League win over Stoke City on Tuesday.
United scored in the opening 45 minutes of a game at Old Trafford for the first time since September as Jesse Lingard broke the deadlock in the 14th minute with a diving header from Cameron Borthwick-Jackson’s cross.
Anthony Martial rounded off an excellent team move involving Juan Mata and Wayne Rooney with a superb curling finish nine minutes later.
Mata and Martial were at the centre of things again as Rooney made sure of the points in the 53rd minute with his 99th Premier League goal at Old Trafford as United at least temporarily silenced the critics who have piled pressure on Van Gaal.
The Dutchman told Sky Sports: “It was a great performance. First half we create attacks, fantastic goals, we created more chances. In the second half we controlled the game.
“I think in 2016 we have only lost against Southampton in the last minute in a game that nobody has to be the winner.
“We have more confidence maybe. At home you have to win but I hope it gives us a lot of motivation to continue. In Derby County [in the FA Cup last Friday] we played very well also like this evening.
“Great goals, from the building up to the end of the goal. Superb goals, I’m very happy because you can see the team is scoring the goal not only the player.”
Asked about the impact of the likes of Lingard and Borthwick-Jackson, Van Gaal added: “I’m always pleased when youngsters are showing themselves.
“Today is also Cameron Borthwick-Jackson’s birthday and he gets a fantastic assist. I’m very happy for him.”