No goals, no cutting edge – the Manchester United frontline, led by Wayne Rooney, was under severe pressure. Rooney and co. swatted away that pressure in extravagant style, scoring four unanswered goals against Club Brugge to win their Champions League playoff 7-1 on aggregate.
Going into the second leg in Belgium with a 3-1 lead, all Manchester United had to do was avoid a heavy defeat to progress into the group stages of the Champions League, but they went a few notches better as Rooney fired a wonderful hat-trick, with Ander Herrera, criminally underused this season, netting the other in a 4-0 stroll in Brugge.
Rooney opened the scoring in the 20th minute, before two goals in eight early second half minutes put the game and the tie to bed. The Manchester United goal glut continued with Herrera scoring just past the hour, while it could, and should, have been 5-0 as Javier Hernandez missed a penalty, after coming on for the goalscoring Spaniard.
"I've got the goals, but more importantly it was a massive game for the club," Rooney told BT Sport. "To go through to the group stage after being out of it last year, it's a great result over the two games and we're delighted that we're through to the draw.
"If I didn't have a strong character then maybe it [the lack of goals] might have affected me. I know my qualities and what I bring to the team, even if the goals don't go in, I still bring a lot for my teammates.
"Thankfully, I've got chances and taken them, but I wasn't worried. If it was going on for four or five games more then maybe so, but it's early days and I knew that when the chances came I'd take them.
"Obviously, as a striker, you want to score. Everyone goes back to the end of last season and makes a big thing of it. You have to get off the mark, I've understood that from a young age because of my name and who I am, it gets publicised a lot more, but that's part of my job. I have to accept that."
Manchester United now await their opponents in the group stages, with the Champions League draw taking place later on Thursday.
Below are the match highlights with all the goals