Louis van Gaal was a far happier coach after watching Manchester United beat Stoke 3-0 at Old Trafford.
United scored in the first half of a home match for the first time since September, with Jesse Lingard opening the scoring. Anthony Martial then added a second before half-time, with Wayne Rooney ending the match as a contest after the break.
The result puts United five points behind Arsenal in fourth place, incredible when you consider the moods around both clubs a month ago.
“Yes, I am a happy coach. When you see how we created the goals, with fantastic play building up from the back and finishing – that’s what I like,” Van Gaal said.
“In the second half we controlled the game and did not give any chances to Stoke City which is unbelievable because Stoke have made it very difficult for a lot of teams.”
“It could be a turning point but you never know. It’s better to score goals like this and better for the manager on the bench because I could change players to give others some minutes.”
“Michael Carrick said to me what a difference a first-half goal makes because you play with much more confidence and you can do much more. I believe that was the difference. We scored two goals in the first half and it was an easier game than I expected.”
Van Gaal was also impressed with the form of Martial, whose glorious finish gave United their second goal:
“It is very much surprising when you are 19, now he is 20, and you come from the French league to the Premier League and you can do this when you are 19 years or 20 years old.
“You have a lot of potential to give then still more.