Wayne Rooney scored a hat-trick to silence his critics as Manchester United beat Club Brugge 4-0 to progress to the Champions League group stages.
Louis van Gaal’s men won the play-off tie 7-1 on aggregate, with Ander Herrera picking up the other goal in Belgium. Javier Hernandez even missed a penalty late on as United turned on the style in a convincing win.
With the spotlight of the world on him, Rooney finally delivered to put this tie to bed in the 20th minutes. Memphis Depay did brilliantly to cut inside, faked to shoot, and threaded a perfect ball through to Rooney, who chipped the onrushing ‘keeper with the finesse of a man bang in form.
United had to call upon Argentine stopper Sergio Romero just before the break to make a superb double save, but the first half was pretty comfortable for the Red Devils.
United stepped it up in the second half, and took advantage of the additional space to run riot. The second goal was a sublime team move, with Memphis playing in Herrera, picking a perfect square pass into the feet of Rooney, who had the simple task to slotting home.
The England skipper then completed his second Champions League hat-trick for United, with Mata this time providing the assist.
Herrera then got himself on the scoresheet, but it was the pass from substitute Bastian Schweinsteiger that was world class.
The Spaniard had all the time in the world to pick his spot, and he obliged with ease. United should have had five, but Hernandez slipped as he took a late penalty, and ballooned the ball wide.
Fantastic display from United, but it remains to be seen if they can dispose of Swansea on Sunday with such consummate ease.
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