Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has admitted anger fired up his players after going eight games without a win in all competitions, finally breaking their poor run of results with a victory against Swansea City on Saturday.
Stuart Mathieson of the Manchester Evening News quoted the Dutchman commenting after the 2-1 win at Old Trafford in the Premier League, proclaiming United's failure to convert in front of goal has damaged their ambitions this term:
They (the players) are very angry that we have lost so many games in a row. They are also not used to that, I'm not used to that, losing four matches in a row. Never, and I have been in this profession for 25 years.
So it's unusual and they are angry also and want to change the situation.
We produced a good performance, so you force the luck also. What I said against Chelsea, is that we did force the luck, but we didn't receive the luck.
Now we have scored two beautiful goals of course, and that changes everything. Scoring goals changes everything.
Now the pressure is lowering, the performance shall be better every week. But that is also dependable on whether or not we score goals.
Van Gaal witnessed his strikers finally work in tandem against the Swans, as Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney combined to fire United to maximum points.
The young Frenchman was a constant menace with his powerful running, and the England captain scored with a delightful flick late in the game.
Van Gaal has supported Rooney during his alarming dip in form this year, and the Dutchman hopes the goal will now fire him to better days, per Mathieson:
He does everything we expect from him as a captain but also as a player and in what position he plays.
I hope that it can give a boost to him, because the goal was fantastic. There was not so much space and still he ran to the first post and did it this way, so it was fantastic and I am very happy for him and I hope it shall give him the boost he needs.
The 30-year-old only has three goals from 16 Premier League appearances this term, according to WhoScored.com, and his lack of contribution has been a major factor in United's downfall since November.
Jamie Redknapp congratulated the No. 10 for his goal against the Swans, writing in his column for the Daily Mail, but warned that Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane could take Rooney's place in the England starting XI:
What an unbelievable finish that was from Wayne Rooney. He’s been poor this season but, like all great players, he provided a nice little reminder of what he is capable of. It could not have been better timed.
I said last week that with Harry Kane breathing down his neck Wayne faces the biggest challenge of his career. Despite Rooney’s brilliant backheel, I stand by that.
If United harbour any ambitions of winning the Premier League this season, they must buy a striker in the January transfer window.
Rooney is no longer the talent he once was, and the pressure must not be stockpiled on Martial as he develops his game at the Theatre of Dreams.
The 20-year-old France international has been moved around the park to accommodate Rooney, but the lack of goals from the forward line have not justified Van Gaal's selection and tactics.
If United can buy a primary goalscorer in January, they will drive themselves into a Champions League spot. However, without a top-class addition, Van Gaal's reign at the club could come to an end if they miss out on Europe's top competition for next season.