Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal hailed the performance of captain Wayne Rooney as he helped fire the club into the UEFA Champions League group stage with a stunning hat-trick in the 7-1 aggregate victory over Club Brugge on Wednesday night.
“Wayne has a very strong mentality and with his level he shall always come back, but still it’s a long way for him. But of course i’m happy for him,” the Dutchman said after the game [via Mirror Sport].
Leading 3-1 from the first leg at Old Trafford a week ago, Rooney fired the visitors into the lead on the night with a lovely finish after being played in by Memphis Depay and that goal effectively ended the tie.
It was the United skipper’s first goal for the club since April and his second of the night came four minutes after the interval as he rounded off a flowing passing move to tap-in from close range.
Rooney’s goal drought ended in style as he completed his hat-trick after sweeping home an excellent pass from Juan Mata, before Ander Herrera’s first goal of the season further highlighted United’s dominance over two legs.
With the draw for the group stage set to take place on Thursday afternoon, van Gaal was in an upbeat mood and said none of the big teams in Europe will want to face the Red Devils when asked if he was concerned about the prospect of drawing either Barcelona or Bayern Munich:
“I don’t think they want to draw us,” van Gaal added.
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