United claimed top spot with their 3-0 win over Sunderland on Saturday, coupled with Manchester City’s drubbing at Tottenham.
Louis Van Gaal recorded his first win in nine games in all competitions over a side managed by Dick Advocaat since 1995.
Although the hosts weren’t overly convincing and were more functional rather than extravagant, the results are essentially the most important aspect and van Gaal is getting it right for the time being.
“I was also very happy for the fans”. Then you play in the Champions League in midweek. You have to be aware and I have to admit my defense was very good today. They were always wasting time and the referee was not reacting to that. “It’s a new approach to management, one I haven’t experienced before”.
He noted that there are tougher challenges ahead, including a trip to Arsenal on Sunday.
Van Gaal also added that Anthony Martial is turning out to be a vital cog in Manchester United’s attack [player ratings].
Martial produced the assist for Rooney’s first Premier League goal of the season against Sunderland but the England striker says he was not concerned by his drought.
“In the first half, from zero to 10, (we were) minus one”, manager Jose Mourinho said after the match. “He is not only a goalscorer”.
“I have said it before and six weeks ago and the same answers”.
Rooney, without a league goal in 11 matches, bundled in the second immediately after the restart to deflate the visitors before Mata rounded off a satisfying day.
But Van Gaal does not think October will define whether his team are genuine title challengers. “I don’t care who is making the goals”.
“I can accept losing sometimes but we made it very easy for them in the second half”.
It was a major slip up and United needed to win to make sure they capitalised.