Football

Just 3 days, 1 great goal

Man United manager van Gaal hails new signing Martial after debut goal

He is the best young forward in the world.

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal raved about his new signing, Anthony Martial, who marked his debut with a stunning goal against Liverpool yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Twenty-one minutes after his introduction from the bench, the Frenchman beat Martin Skrtel with 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 £58 million ($126.4m) for the 19-year-old but, after his first match for his new club, Martial 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. "He has pace to dribble but his finishing was fantastic."

The United manager still expects Martial to encounter bumps along 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."

The Dutchman, 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 window with a lot of problems with players who are going and coming," the 64-year-old 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. 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."

The only negative for van Gaal was that he was unable to play Wayne Rooney, who is also likely to miss Wednesday morning's Champions League game against PSV Eindhoven in Holland due to a hamstring injury.

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

The Dutchman's opposite number was less pleased with his team.

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

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

- PA Sport.

louis van gaalANTHONY MARTIALManchester Unitedliverpooldebut goaleplFootball