Louis Van Gaal told his Manchester United players to consider their game against Queen's Park Rangers as the first match of the season and a new beginning - and they responded yesterday with the first win of the season and four goals.
The United manager said that his team could still win the Premier League, and he hoped they could yet outscore any other side in the division after an emphatic victory starring their record signing Angel Di Maria.
"I said to the players before the match we have to make a new start today because this is the squad that we start now, from September 1 after the transfer period," said Van Gaal. "We have spent only two or three days with each other."
"I have chosen 27 players: three goalkeepers and 24 players. You shall see it Tuesday with the squad photo-shoot, that is our selection this season."
He added: "I have worked already for more than 35 years and I have always played attacking football. I believe all my teams have outscored others in the league. I hope at the end of this season we shall score the most. The purpose of our goal is to be in the top three because we have to qualify for the Champions League - that is not the most important thing.
"The most important thing is our trajectory. We are building a process and we have to play in a certain style. We have to improve - and at the end I hope to be manager of the champions of the Premier League.
"If it is not this year, then in my second year or my third year but I want to give the championship to the fans."
He went on: "This is special because it is also the birthday of my wife.
"I have already given her a present but she said the biggest present shall be the victory. We gave this to her."
Van Gaal dropped his controversial 3-5-2 formation, opting instead for a back four because, he said, of injuries.
"I could hardly play with five defenders, because Chris Smalling and Phil Jones were injured it was difficult to play with three defenders.
"Tyler Blackett and Jonny Evans, maybe Marcos Rojo, can also play central defender.
"But then I have to play a left-footed player as a right-sided central defender.
"I don't think that was a good idea so I was more or less forced to play with two central defenders. But it is also due to the quality of the players that I change the formation."
Asked what pleased him most, Van Gaal replied that it was that his team were finally scoring goals.
"I believe in spite of our loss against Swansea, and also the draws (against Sunderland and Burnley), we were the better team on the pitch.
"We failed to score goals and this time we have done that and created chances.
"You have to do that in football. I am very happy with the goals and in the second half we have created a lot of chances."
Di Maria claimed that his goal, direct from a free-kick from the right, had been intended. He said: "I'm very happy with my debut. I feel very much at home. I've been practising this during the week and done that in training so it wasn't a surprise."
(©Independent News Service)