Manchester: Louis van Gaal backed Anthony Martial to shine at Manchester United after the world's most expensive teenager exploded onto the Premier League stage with a superb debut goal in Saturday's 3-1 win against Liverpool.
Manchester United striker Anthony Martial (top) celebrates after scoring their third goal against Liverpool at Old Trafford on Saturday. Pic/AFP
Signed from Monaco on transfer deadline day for a reported initial fee of £36 million ($55 million) that even the United manager admitted was "ridiculous", French striker Martial had been dismissed in some quarters as a panic buy.
But the hefty price tag didn't seem to bother the 19-year-old, who came on as a 65th minute substitute and settled one of English football's heavyweight clashes with a devastating knockout blow.
Van Gaal's side were clinging to a 2-1 lead in the 86th minute when Martial took possession on the left, surged past Martin Skrtel and cut inside before calmly steering his shot into the far corner to cap a memorable United debut.
"When you make a goal like Anthony you cannot wish for more I think," van Gaal said. "A lot of players have made a debut and scored with me so it's a good signal."
Asked if he was relieved to see Martial impress so quickly after the criticism of his signing, van Gaal insisted he had been confident in the youngster's ability to thrive in the Premier League.
"We have scouted him and we wanted him because he's the best in his age, he needs time," he said.
"He's been with us for three days, that is too short to judge his personality but he made a very good impression in first three days, that's why I selected him to be on the bench."
Before Martial's goal, Christian Benteke had just halved United's two-goal lead with a sensational overhead bicycle kick.
Earlier, second-half goals from Daley Blind and Ander Herrera had put United in control.