It took a few matches longer than expected but the Louis Ban Gaal era kicked off in style on Sunday as Manchester United thumped Queens Park Rangers 4-0 to hand Louis van Gaal his first win as manager. Angel di Maria, Ander Herrera, Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata all got on the scoresheet as United ripped QPR apart in the opening 45 minutes.
United fans arrived at Old Trafford ready to welcome new signings Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Radamel Falcao but while all three impressed, it was the contribution of Di Maria that excited the United fans the most.
Di Maria was brilliant, running and the Rangers defence with pace and then carving their defence open with a series of brilliant passes and he had a hand in all four goals.
With Blind, Herrera, Mata and Di Maria controlling the midfield, Rangers were under pressure almost from the opening whistle as United passed the ball quickly and confidently, and they tested the away defence with a series of teasing crosses.
With so much pressure on them, it only seemed a matter of time before QPR conceded, and they did in the 23rd minute. After a needless foul on Herrera by Clint Hill, Di Maria whipped a curling ball over the heads of four players and the ball drifted in past Robert Green at his far post.
For United’s second, once again Di Maria played an important part, racing 50 yards down the left before playing Rooney in with a lovely pass between two defenders. The striker’s shot was blocked, but he then squared to Herrera, who drilled the ball past Green. The Stretford End demanded United attack and they did. Just before half-time Rooney made it 3-0.
Herrera played a delicious one-two with Mata and he touched the ball off to Rooney, who powered a low shot past Green.
Then Mata wrapped up a great performance when Di Maria adventurously attempted a 25-yard effort which instead landed straight at Mata’s feet. The Spaniard, three yards clear of his nearest marker Ferdinand, tucked the ball past Green from ten yards.
Falcao came on with 23 minutes to go to link up with Rooney and Van Persie in a devastating front three and the Colombian striker almost had a dream debut when Green spilled Blind’s long-range shot in the final minutes, but Falcao could not get there in time to score a debut goal.