MANCHESTER - Manager Louis van Gaal said he wanted to "kiss" Memphis Depay after the Dutch midfielder scored two goals and set up the third in Manchester United's 3-1 win over Club Bruges in the first leg of their Champions League play-off at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
United went behind to an eighth-minute Michael Carrick own goal in Tuesday's first leg at Old Trafford, but Depay scored two superb goals before teeing up substitute Marouane Fellaini for an injury-time header that put United firmly in control.
Depay, who was deployed in his favoured starting position on the left rather than as a traditional No. 10, showed the kind of form that led United to pay PSV Eindhoven a reported £25 million (S$55 million) for the 21-year-old in May.
"When you score a goal, then you are the hero," said van Gaal, a Champions League winner with Ajax in 1995, who is bidding to lead United to the group phase after their first season out of the competition in 19 years.
"I want to kiss him tonight, because when you score two goals and give an assist also, then normally in the world you are the hero," said the manager.
"He's never satisfied. I like that. You have to know what you are doing and also what you can do and then your desire to improve is higher. And that's Memphis."
United left-back Luke Shaw, who along with Depay was one of the best players on the pitch, also praised his teammate's performance and first goals for the club.
"I am really happy for him today," the England international said. "Now he's off the mark, hopefully it can bring him many more goals.
"Our relationship is starting to build up. We have played a couple of games together and I am starting to understand how he wants to play."
Fellaini acknowledged that his late header was important, but insisted that United still have work to do when they visit the Belgian club in the return leg on Aug 26.
"It was important to score a third goal and we did, so that's fantastic," the 27-year-old Belgium international said. "It's a win but now we have to be careful in Bruges. Normally it would be not easy, but we have the quality to win there as well."