Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has admitted surprise at striker Anthony Martial’s performance during their 3-0 win over Sunderland on Saturday, 26 September.
And the second period was less than a minute old when Wayne Rooney made it 2-0 before Juan Mata added a late third. “And the second half, two set pieces – one of them was also offside – that decided the game“. Martial was signed for a reported £36m ($54.8m) fee from AS Monaco, and has been dubbed the “new Thierry Henry”.
“Last season at this stage I think we were in 13th position in the league table, so I’m a happy coach”, van Gaal told reporters. He continued his good form by scoring twice at Southampton and again against Ipswich, so he’s enjoyed a great start to his United career.
“From the first day I was hoping to see the team in this place the club has occupied for so many times in the past”, he wrote.
United travel to Arsenal on Sunday and after the global break they face tough tests against Everton and City. David de Gea’s presence in goal gives United solidity and assurance, while Daley Blind’s reading of the game and Chris Smalling’s blossoming confidence have seen an impressive central defensive partnership emerge in recent weeks.
“They have to build up a structure in the dressing room and that’s really important”. That is the game. We play away at Arsenal next week and they are one of the most hard teams to beat, but we won there last season so it is possible.
“It’s not so easy playing under pressure to go top of the league”, said Van Gaal.
“The players are always looking to the other match so we must respect the culture and I adapt to that”, he said.
Jones too came off the bench to make only his second appearance since a blood clot was discovered in his leg shortly after he returned from the pre-season tour of the United States.
Fletcher insists the Sunderland players still back their manager 100 per cent.
The strike ended Rooney’s 11-match goal drought for the club in the league, and also took him level with Denis Law as United’s joint-third leading league scorer with 171 goals.
Like many football fans, van Gaal was also impressed when Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski scored five goals in nine minutes during a 5-1 win over Wolfsburg in midweek.