Wayne Rooney claims that Manchester United fully deserved their points against Sunderland after they beat the 10-man side 2-0 at Old Trafford.
Rooney scored a brace and set a new record as the first man to score 10 or more goals in 11 successive Premier League seasons.
Controversy would once again surround the referee as Rodger East sent off Wes Brown rather than Jon O'Shea but the red card and penalty were clear as United took three points and moved to third in the table.
And Rooney believes that before Sunderland went down to 10 men United were on top, waiting it out until they could pull their knock-out punch.
"It's great to score but the three points are the most important thing after last week," he told BBC Sport. "We deserved the three points.
"We knew Sunderland would be dogged. They defended well, but we were patient. It was a good performance.
"The performance was good. We had a bit more space with the 10 men but we should have been ahead before that.
"I think there are a lot of teams in a good run of form and there's not much difference between the top teams. We hope that, come the end of the season, we're in the right position."
Rooney hadn't been involved in a goal or assist for United in eight games before this but looked back to his best as Van Gaal gave him a more upfront role in this tie.
He first scored a penalty after the red card and then was able to take advantage of a fantastic shot by Adnan Januzaj which came off keeper Costel Pantilimon.