Sir Alex Ferguson has hailed Manchester United’s 3-0 win at Newcastle on Sunday as one of their best performances of the season so far.
Two goals from corners in the first half took the Red Devils out of sight, and Tom Cleverley’s cross-cum-shot rounded off an excellent display from the visitors.
The Red Devils looked keen to bounce back from their defeat at home to Tottenham last time out, and Sir Alex was delighted with the way his side kept their concentration.
“It’s a great result against a powerful Newcastle team,” he told Sky Sports.
“We came here to perform and make sure we keep control of the game and I think we did that most of the time.
“Last time we were bullied off the pitch and second to every ball last year but tonight it didn’t happen.
“The second half against Tottenham we were terrific; an absolutely brilliant performance. But the first half spoiled the whole day, but today the whole game we were really on top our game in terms of concentration, determination, all the things you want to see.
“Concentration is important at this level and we concentrated on the way we played first 20 minutes. It’s strange as we played such good football and created a lot of openings but scored from two set-pieces. That’s unusual for us but we’ll take it anyway.”
The Scot also praised Wayne Rooney’s contribution to the win, with the England international slotting into a slightly deeper role for the visitors after coming back from injury.
“He’s getting fitter all the time,” added the 70-year-old.
“He needs the games obviously. With about 20 minutes to go I could see signs he was starting to tire a little but he’s put so much work into it. Some of his football was terrific today.”
After an international break the Red Devils host Stoke, and Ferguson accepts the importance of getting a result to keep in touch with Premier League leaders Chelsea.
“You don’t want to fall too far behind,” he said.
“If we hadn’t won today we’d have been seven points behind Chelsea. We’re in the frame, we’re still there and every game is important now because you want to stay up there and hopefully we can do that.”
Meanwhile, Alan Pardew has called on the FA to look at Robin van Persie’s elbow on French midfielder Yohan Cabaye during the defeat.
Van Persie was already on a yellow card when play was stopped after the Newcastle midfielder went to ground following an attempt to dispossess the Dutchman.
And Pardew was forthright in his opening on the incident, hinting the former Arsenal striker was reacting to the “history” between the pair.
“He’s looked at Yohan and he’s elbowed him,” he told reporters. “I think that perhaps needs to be looked at, to be honest.
“There’s a bit of history from last year and I don’t know if Robin’s got caught up in that. But I think that was just a little bit of unsavouriness in the game.
“But I’m not going to take anything away from United today, they deserved to win. They came and played very, very well today for periods of that game.
“I actually thought that Yohan wouldn’t have gone down if he hadn’t done something. I hadn’t (properly) seen it myself but I’ve seen it on the replay and it looks like he’s looked at him (Cabaye) and put his elbow out.
“(Should FA ban him?) That’s for them to look at, not for me.”
Pardew was disappointed with the way Newcastle conceded their goals.
Defenders Patrice Evra and Jonny Evans scored the opening two goals for the Red Devils from set-pieces.
“We wanted to obviously create pressure and get the home advantage with us,” Pardew said. “They had a golden 15 minutes or 10 minutes where we just couldn’t see the ball.
“There were a few challenges which I thought we should have got a decision (in our favour) which might have just given us a chance to settle down.
“Having said that the goals weren’t wonder-goals, they were two set-plays. We’re very disappointed with the goals.”