Belfast Telegraph

Champions League Man United 1-0 CSKA Moscow: Wayne's winner gets boss Louis Van Gaal off the hook

By Robert Jones

Louis van Gaal felt vindicated by Wayne Rooney's winner against CSKA Moscow after his decision to take off Anthony Martial was booed by home fans.

The Manchester United manager responded to three successive 0-0 draws by starting with Martial as his central striker and playing the England captain in a withdrawn role in the Champions League Group B clash.

With the game scoreless he hauled the Frenchman off and pushed Rooney up front, a decision that was loudly derided by what seemed a hefty majority inside the stadium.

Rooney, though, paid his boss back by heading home the only goal of the match in the 79th minute.

Van Gaal was well aware his decision was not welcomed, but was content with the outcome.

Asked if he had heard the crowd's reaction, the Dutchman said: "Of course, I am not deaf.

"That is the opinion of the fans. Afterwards they shall not be disappointed by the decision of the manager.

"I'm very happy because I put him again in the striker's position and he scored."

Rooney's header saw him move level with the great Denis Law on 237 United goals, behind only Sir Bobby Charlton, but he conceded getting there against CSKA was no easy task.

''Denis Law is a legend at this club, so I'm delighted to equal his record," he said.

''We tried to get an early goal and once that doesn't happen it becomes difficult, but we got the points, that is all that matters.''

Belfast Telegraph

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