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Wayne Rooney undroppable for Man United on form - Louis van Gaal

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal says the key to his side's performance against Stoke was Jesse Lingard's first goal.

Louis van Gaal believes it is in his best interests for Wayne Rooney to become Manchester United's record scorer -- because his captain's goals bring him luck.

The Dutchman had left Rooney on the bench when United lost 2-0 to Stoke in December but scored his seventh goal in as many games as his side continued their 2016 revival with a 3-0 win over Mark Hughes' side.

It further eased the pressure on manager Van Gaal, who said Rooney is undroppable now and who noted his return to form has coincided with United's improved results.

The 30-year-old took his tally to 244 United goals, putting him only five behind record-holder Sir Bobby Charlton and Van Gaal wants the England international to overhaul the World Cup winner this season.

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"I hope for him and it is also good for me then because when he scores, we win," he said in a news conference.

"Everybody has forgotten he was a substitute against Stoke City away. It is for everybody always the same with me. You have to prove it every game, every training session and then you play. When he plays like this, I cannot say to him: 'Go to the bench'."

Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial were United's other scorers and Van Gaal was delighted with the quality of their goals.

"Superb," he said. "These were team goals building up from behind and team goals I like the most. Of course I am very happy with an individual goal also but these were team goals and the finishing was also very good."

Van Gaal admitted he is surprised by the impact Martial has had at Old Trafford since United paid Monaco an initial £36 million for the teenager in the summer.

"He is 19, now he is 20. That is surprising," he said. "You come from the French league to the Premier League and you can do this. You are 19-years-old then you have a lot of potential to give still but then I [will not be] the manager when he is at his best."

Martial has excelled as a winger of late and Van Gaal suggested he will stay there, just as Rooney will remain his main striker and Juan Mata his No. 10.

"He likes to play in a striker's position more than where he is now playing but when he plays like this I am not changing," he added. "Same as Rooney, same as Mata, I am not changing."

Pep Guardiola, who skippered Van Gaal's Barcelona team, will be Manchester City manager next season and the Dutchman is looking forward to meeting him again.

"He is my former captain so I am very pleased to see him and I can speak Spanish so it is convenient for him," he added.

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