United display has Van Gaal beaming

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal was a very happy man after seeing his side dispatch Stoke with ease at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

The Red Devils have struggled for goals this season, scoring just 31 times in 24 Premier League outings and being involved in five goalless draws.

But they got off to a good start against the Potters in midweek, with Jesse Lingard breaking the deadlock on 14 minutes to score United's first goal in the opening 45 minutes since September last year.

Anthony Martial extended the hosts' lead nine minutes later with a superb curling effort into the far corner of the net after fine build-up play and the Frenchman turned provider on 53 minutes as he set up Wayne Rooney to secure a comfortable 3-0 win.

Van Gaal was delighted to finally give the fans the attacking football they have been craving and he was equally pleased to have shut out Mark Hughes' men completely on the night.

The Dutchman also admitted the early goal set the tone for the match, telling the media afterwards: "Yes, I am a happy coach. When you see how we created the goals, with fantastic play building up from the back and finishing – that's what I like.

"In the second half we controlled the game and did not give any chances to Stoke City which is unbelievable because Stoke have made it very difficult for a lot of teams.

"I always like team goals and the second one was a team goal, building up from the back and then switching the play to the other side and then a finish like that, it was fantastic.

"I also liked the first goal because it was also a team goal – a cross from [Cameron] Borthwick-Jackson on his birthday, an assist and then Jesse [Lingard] coming in from the other side. I am very happy."

"Michael Carrick said to me what a difference a first-half goal makes because you play with much more confidence and you can do much more. I believe that was the difference. We scored two goals in the first half and it was an easier game than I expected."