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Wednesday 28 September 2016

Van Gaal hails Anthony Martial after his goalscoring debut for Manchester United

Published 12/09/2015 | 21:24

Anthony Martial celebrated his Manchester United debut goal in front of the Stretford End
Anthony Martial celebrated his Manchester United debut goal in front of the Stretford End

Louis van Gaal hailed Anthony Martial as the best young forward in the world after he marked his debut with a stunning winner for Manchester United against Liverpool.

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Twenty-one minutes after his introduction from the bench Martial beat Martin Skrtel on a mazy run before rolling the ball past Simon Mignolet to seal a 3-1 win for United against their bitter rivals.

Van Gaal had been criticised for agreeing a fee of up to £58million for the 19-year-old, but with one match of his United career gone, he has already written his name into Old Trafford folklore.

"When you make a goal like Anthony did you cannot wish for more," the United manager said about Martial's debut.

"He has pace to dribble but his finishing was fantastic.

"A lot of players have made a debut and scored with me so it's a good signal."

The United manager still expects Martial to encounter bumps in the road of his United career, but believes the former Monaco forward possesses talent like no-one else in his age group.

"We have scouted him and we wanted him because he's the best in his age," Van Gaal said.

"But he needs time. He's been with us for three days, that is too short to judge his personality but he made a very good impression in first three days, that's why I selected him to be on the bench.

"He scored a marvellous goal and he physically can play in the Premier League, I believe."

Van Gaal, who recalled David de Gea to his starting line-up, watched his team toil in a dull opening 45 minutes. In fairness, Liverpool were no better.

Following the introduction of Ashley Young at half-time, the hosts gained more energy and purpose in the final third.

The winger drew a foul from Nathaniel Clyne on the edge of the box in the 49th minute. Juan Mata squared the set-piece to Daley Blind, who fired a curling shot into the far corner.

Ander Herrera made it 2-0 from the penalty spot and Christian Benteke pulled one back with a stunning overhead kick before Martial killed the game off.

United moved up to second in the table following their third win of the campaign and Van Gaal now has his sights set on leaders Manchester City.

"It was a difficult period in the transfer period with a lot of problems with players who are going and coming," the Dutchman said.

"I think we have managed that very well. We have 10 points from five matches.

"That is a good record, there is only one club better and our aim is to be the best but now we are five points behind Manchester City. We still look to that position but I am happy.

"I think the performance was good, very high control of the match until the first goal and fantastic studied goal, all the meetings and training sessions have paid off."

The only negative for Van Gaal was that he was unable to play Wayne Rooney, who is also likely to miss Tuesday's game at PSV because of a hamstring injury.

"I don't want to take any risks with our captain," Van Gaal said.

Van Gaal's opposite number was not as happy with his team.

Brendan Rodgers was taunted with chants of "you're getting sacked in the morning" as he left Old Trafford on Saturday night.

"We need to be a lot technically better than we showed today," the Liverpool manager said.

"Creating goals is something we need to look at.

"I thought in the first half we defended well but had nowhere near enough quality and composure on the ball."

Rodgers admits it will take some time to get over his third straight loss to United.

"This is the biggest game in this country, maybe in the world in terms of derby games," he said.

"When we won 3-0 it felt great. When we lost 3-1 it doesn't. It is difficult for the supporters. We have to go away and do better."

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