Man U ease past Stoke

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February 03, 2016
Manchester United's Jesse Lingard (right) celebrates after scoring during the English Premier League match between Manchester United and Stoke at Old Trafford Stadium yesterday.

MANCHESTER (AP):

Manchester United eased to a 3-0 victory against Stoke in the Premier League yesterday, with an attacking display at Old Trafford signalling a potential upturn in confidence at the club.

Jesse Lingard opened the scoring with a close-range header after 14 minutes for United's first goal in the first half at home in 11 matches.

Anthony Martial doubled the advantage nine minutes later, collecting a neat pass from Juan Mata before sweeping home with a curling effort across goal. Captain Wayne Rooney completed the scoring in the second half from close range, Martial providing the assist.

United are fifth in the Premier League, five points behind Arsenal in fourth.

United boss Louis van Gaal thought the attacking nature of his team's display helped his players relax on the field.

The cheers and applause United's team received from supporters at full time created a remarkably different atmosphere to the boos and jeers at the end of its previous home match, a 1-0 defeat by Southampton.

"Michael Carrick said to me what a difference a first-half goal makes because you can play with much more confidence," Van Gaal said.

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