Football

Depay eyes United revival

Forward to return to Old Trafford with renewed confidence after two-goal salvo

GROUP A

LUXEMBOURG 1

(Maxine Chanot 44-pen)

HOLLAND 3

(Arjen Robben 36, Memphis Depay 58, 84)

Memphis Depay is hoping his double strike for Holland in their World Cup qualifying win yesterday morning (Singapore time) can act as a catalyst to help revive his stalling club career at Manchester United.

The 22-year-old forward proved to be an inspirational substitution for the Dutch in a tricky away game at Luxembourg, coming on at half-time and scoring twice to ensure a 3-1 win in the Group A encounter.

The first goal was a close-range header from a cross delivered by clubmate Daley Blind and the second a free-kick that he struck over the home team's wall.

"I'm really happy I succeeded," he told Dutch television.

"I proved I can still take a free-kick. I knew I still had it in me and I really wanted to take it. It was great to see the ball go in."

Depay said he would be returning to Old Trafford with renewed confidence in a campaign in which he has seen just 20 minutes of league action, all off the bench, and started only a domestic cup match.

"That is for sure. I'm going to fight my utmost to make sure I can get back in contention," he said.

Holland coach Danny Blind was not surprised by the impact made by Depay after coming on as a substitute.

"His attitude in training was good," Blind told website ONSOranje.

"He also made a passionate impression. His two goals were a nice reward for him and the team."

Victory saw Holland leapfrog Sweden into second place on goal difference in the Group A table, three points behind leaders France, but it was a far from a convincing display.

"Luxembourg were very well organised, but were defensively weak to moderate," Blind said.

"We got plenty of chances."

Blind was critical of defender Joshua Brenet, who made his first start for his country and whose clumsy challenge on home striker Daniel da Mota just before the break led to Chanot's equalising penalty.

"Joshua Brenet should have been smarter," Blind said.

"We agreed that if someone would come by (a defender), we would rely on our goalkeeper. Yet he caused a penalty. It's a learning experience for him."

Skipper Arjen Robben blamed a poor playing surface after his international return lasted only 45 minutes.

The Bayern Munich winger had not featured for Holland for a year due to injury and was forced off at the interval with a hamstring strain.

"During a counter-attack, I felt a cramp in my hamstring," Robben said.

"Given my history, I didn't want to take any chances and that is very difficult, because I wanted to continue.

"Anyway, it's a shame that we have to play on a bad pitch. That certainly has had an effect on our game. Nevertheless, we can do a lot better, but we won. These are three important points." - Wire Services.

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