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Van Gaal hails 'fantastic' Memphis and Lingard

Louis van Gaal was delighted with the performances of Memphis Depay and Jesse Lingard as makeshift attackers for Manchester United in their 2-1 Premier League win over Watford.

The onus was on the two wingers to lead the line at Vicarage Road with strikers Anthony Martial, Wayne Rooney and James Wilson all absent.

Depay opened the scoring with an impressive volley, before Troy Deeney scored at both ends in a dramatic finale to ensure United took three points.

When asked about the Netherlands international's contribution, Van Gaal told BT Sport: "The first half he was superb, like Jesse Lingard.

"I think also this role is the best role for him; he played it also in the world championship for me when Robin van Persie or Arjen Robben was injured, so I knew that he could do this.

"But also Jesse was fantastic - because of those two we created a lot of chances.

"I was amazed about the spirit in our team because there was a late penalty to make it a draw, then you give the team another stimulus and you can create in five minutes another three possibilities to score.

"Before the goal from Bastian Schweinsteiger [which has been credited as a Deeney own goal], Chris Smalling also had a fantastic kick on the goal and Heurelho Gomes saved it fantastically.

"When you can do that as a team then I am very proud that I am the manager."

Van Gaal was pleased to reach the Premier League summit, even if it is likely to be a temporary stay once the other fixtures have been concluded.

"Of course we are fighting for the first position in the Premier League," he said.

"We are that maybe for one hour but it is the second time we have done that now. We are every week closer, but where you are at the end is more important.

"We didn't play so good offensively. We have created a lot of chances and we could have finished the game already much earlier when we see the easy chances for Jesse Lingard.

"But we didn't play so well in ball possession. We did play very good when the opponent had the ball but we didn't give away more than three or four chances. That is it and the penalty was given.

"So you cannot say that we gave a lot away, but I can expect we do better with our possession game than we did."