Louis van Gaal declared his love for Memphis Depay after watching the Manchester United new boy stun Club Brugge on Tuesday night.
Depay scored two fantastic goals and set up Marouane Fellaini for the other in United’s 3-1 win over Brugge in the first leg of their Champions League play-off at Old Trafford.
“I want to kiss him tonight,” the United manager said.
“I’m very happy for him because a player needs that.
“Hopefully he shall continue to score.
“I have confidence in him. He showed what he can do tonight. He scored two goals and got the assist for the other.”
Despite opening his account for United in style, Depay left Old Trafford with a tinge of disappointment at not completing his hat-trick.
The £25million forward tried – and failed – to square the ball to Adnan Januzaj in the Brugge box in the first half when he should have shot instead.
And after the restart, he ploughed the ball into the Stretford End after a brilliant move that contained a surging run from Luke Shaw and a neat backheel from Wayne Rooney.
”I’m happy that I scored, and of course I’m happy that we won, but I must admit I’m a bit disappointed because I could have scored the last two chances and got a hat-trick,” Depay said.
”I will think about that tonight and forget about it tomorrow.”
When Michael Carrick had put the ball into his own net in the eighth minute, it looked like United’s first Champions League tie at Old Trafford in 16 months might end in disappointment.
But Depay’s double and Fellaini’s header have put United firmly in the driver’s seat ahead of next Wednesday’s second leg.
“I don’t think that we have a danger because the players shall know that Brugge is a very difficult club to beat,” Van Gaal added.
“They have seen it today. Brugge was very lucky to score a goal because I cannot remember a chance for Brugge.”
If United get their way, they could have a new signing on their books by the time they fly to Belgium next week.
United have been trying to finalise a deal for Pedro over the last 48 hours, but Van Gaal was giving little away regarding the club’s attempts to sign the Barcelona forward.
“You have to ask your colleagues,” Van Gaal said when asked about the Spaniard in his post-match press conference.