Louis van Gaal and Wayne Rooney were in attendance as Manchester United’s under-21 side beat Norwich 7-0 on Monday.
It was a night of mixed emotions for the former Bayern Munich manager, with Memphis Depay, whose error allowed Chelsea to equalise on Sunday, responding well to being dropped to the under-21 team for the first time.
The £25million winger set up two goals in the rout at Old Trafford, where captain Rooney was in attendance among the 1,758 crowd.
Will Keane scored five goals – one of them an impressive chip over Norwich goalkeeper Remi Matthews – but Adnan Januzaj hobbled off with what looked like a hamstring problem and Guillermo Varela also had to be replaced because of an injury.
With Luke Shaw, Antonio Valencia and Marcos Rojo all sidelined, the last thing Van Gaal needed was an injury to another full-back and, should Januzaj be ruled out for any of United’s upcoming games, it would be a huge blow to the young Belgian, who returned from a disappointing loan spell at Borussia Dortmund last month.
On the plus side for Van Gaal, Phil Jones made a significant step on his road to recovery from an ankle injury. The England defender played 58 minutes before being substituted for Ro-Shaun Williams. Jones went straight down the tunnel but there was no indication he had suffered a recurrence of the ankle injury that has kept him out of first-team action since January 2.
Andreas Pereira earned and converted a spot-kick in the victory while Timothy Fosu-Mensah also found the net in the win, which puts United one point behind leaders Sunderland in the Under-21 league.