Louis van Gaal insists the "real" Manchester United fans are right behind Memphis Depay despite mounting criticism of the Netherlands international.
Captain Wayne Rooney came to the defence of Depay in the wake of the 1-1 draw with Chelsea, with the former PSV man facing a barrage of fury from United fans on social media after having gifted possession to the home side shortly before Diego Costa's late equaliser.
Depay started for the Under-21 side against Norwich City on Monday and produced a strong performance, helping to set up three goals in the 7-0 victory while showing a renewed confidence on the ball.
And Van Gaal hopes to see the 21-year-old bring that kind of form to the senior side as United enter a crucial period of the season both domestically and in the Europa League.
"I think it was a very good match for him. He could raise his confidence, I've seen the reaction of the fans, the real fans who look at the second team," Van Gaal told the media on Friday.
"He had three assists and he was enthusiastic. It's good for him, that's why I let him play. I can't play too many in the second team because we have a lot of matches.
"That was more or less the last time I could play with him in the second team."
United face Sunderland on Saturday, against whom Depay scored his first Premier League goal in the reverse fixture in September.