Bruges - Wayne Rooney said that recent criticism had not affected him after his hat-trick inspired Manchester United to a 4-0 win at Club Brugge that secured their Champions League return.
The United captain had come under fire after going 10 club games without scoring, while his club have scored only two goals in their opening three Premier League games.
But he was back to something approaching his best in Bruges on Wednesday, netting his first hat-trick in almost four years as Louis van Gaal's side booked their place in Thursday's group-stage draw.
"I'm delighted to have got the goals and, more importantly, it was a massive game for the club," he told BT Sport at Jan Breydel Stadium. "We are delighted to be through to the draw tomorrow (Thursday).
"To be honest, if I didn't have a strong character, that (the criticism) might have affected me. I wasn't worried. It is early days and when the chances came, I took them."
Rooney opened the scoring from Memphis Depay's pass in the 20th minute and added two more goals early in the second half before Ander Herrera made it 4-0 in the 63rd minute.
The visitors could even afford for substitute Javier Hernandez to miss a late penalty as they completed a routine 7-1 aggregate victory.