Bruges - Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal praised Wayne Rooney's "mentality" after the captain's hat-trick in a 4-0 win against Club Brugge helped his side secure a Champions League place.
Rooney had previously gone 10 club games without scoring, prompting suggestions he was unsuited to the role of lone striker in Van Gaal's single-striker system, but the Dutchman said he never doubted that the England captain would rediscover the path to goal.
"I have given him always the confidence that a player needs, but I think Wayne has a very strong mentality and with his level he always shall come back," Van Gaal said.
"And he proved that this evening (Wednesday). But still it's a long way for him and also for Manchester United it's not so easy. Of course I'm very happy for him."
All three of Rooney's goals were pleasing on the eye, as he applied assured one-touch finishes to passes from Memphis, Ander Herrera and Juan Mata.