Football

MOMENTUM ON UNITED'S SIDE

Louis van Gaal thinks Manchester United are primed to start the season with a bang after their near-perfect tour of the United States.

When Van Gaal retires, winning the International Champions Cup will not rank among his greatest achievements.

The Dutchman already has 16 winner's medals of greater prestige, but the importance of winning this money-spinning pre-season tournament cannot be discounted.

Van Gaal's team won the final of the eight-team competition yesterday morning (Singapore time), when they beat Liverpool 3-1, thanks to goals from Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard.

United beat Roma, Inter Milan (on penalties after a 0-0 draw) and Real Madrid en route to the final, so van Gaal is in an optimistic mood ahead of his first season in the English Premier League.

"This will give us momentum, for sure," the United manager said.

"It's always better to win."

Steven Gerrard's penalty gave Liverpool the lead at a rain-soaked Sun Life Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins, after Phil Jones had clattered into Raheem Sterling in the box.

Sterling continued to cause United problems and he should have had a penalty, when Ander Herrera pulled him down in the box just before half-time.

But United rode the storm and equalised, when Javier Hernandez found Rooney at the back post and he beat Simon Mignolet with a well-taken volley.

Two minutes later, Mata's shot flew past Mignolet via a deflection off Mamadou Sakho.

And, in the dying minutes, Lingard put the result beyond doubt when he converted Ashley Young's cross.

Afterwards, van Gaal singled out Rooney, who was named Player of the Tournament for scoring three goals, for praise.

"The goal was very important for him," said van Gaal.

"It was a wonderful goal when you see the attack and what he did to push the ball under the legs of the opponent and also into the corner of the goal.

"It was a great cross from Chicharito (Hernandez) also. It was a very good attack."

CAPTAINCY

Rooney captained United for the first time on the tour, which took United to Los Angeles, Denver, Washington DC, Detroit and finally to Florida.

Darren Fletcher was named skipper in the other two International Champions Cup games, while Tom Cleverley was given the honour of captaining the side in the 7-0 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Van Gaal has to decide who will captain United next season, but he was giving little away on whether it would be Rooney.

"I'm always looking for opportunities to give players the captain's armband," said van Gaal, who is thought to be considering Robin van Persie and Jonny Evans as serious candidates too.

"Today, Rooney played for the first time 90 minutes. Fletcher has already done it twice, therefore he was the captain.

"Cleverley also played 90 minutes. I think you have to choose, when it is possible, the English style. But it has to be possible." 
- PA Sport.