Wayne Rooney used captains' 'privilege' to hold knockout team-talk without Louis van Gaal

Manchester United skipper spoke to the team prior to victory over Tottenham

Manchester United gave arguably their best performance of the season in the 3-0 victory over Tottenham and certainly started the match better than any other since Louis van Gaal took charge.

However, it has emerged that Wayne Rooney should take a chunk of credit after delivering a team-talk prior to the match from which Van Gaal was excluded.

"I was not in the meeting because the captain has his own privileges," revealed Van Gaal after the victory at Old Trafford that took United to within two points of second-place Manchester City.

"The players knew this game was massively important, so the captain did something to help the players, help the manager and help the club."

It appeared to have the desired effect, with Marouane Fellaini opening the scoring after just nine minutes, Michael Carrick adding a second on 19 minutes and then Rooney himself slotting past Hugo Lloris after 34 minutes to ensure an all-too-rare comfortable afternoon for the Red Devils.

Speaking to the BBC, Fellaini revealed the "important" speech by Rooney touched on the importance of finishing in the top-four.

"I think last night the captain talked to the team about next season for the Champions League.

"I think it affected the team and I think it was an important speech."

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