Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has hailed £24 million summer signing Robin van Persie following the Holland international’s hat-trick hero performance against Southampton at The Friends Provident St Mary’s Stadium on Sunday.
Van Persie has now bagged four goals in three league matches, two starts, for the Red Devils.
Fergie, who marked his 1,000th career league game in charge of Manchester United with a victory on Sunday, was full of praise for Van Persie, veteran midfielder Paul Scholes — who replaced Tom Cleverley at the hour mark — and Mexican striker Javier “El Chicharito” Hernandez.
“Absolutely, [Van Persie had a fantastic game]. But when Paul Scholes came on the pitch he changed the game completely,” Fergie told Sky Sports.
“I thought we were more or less in control in the first half but once we went on the back foot and Van Persie scored a fantastic equalising goal, so you’re thinking ‘Let’s get down to business in the second half and get this game done’.”
However, Southampton regained the lead courtesy of a Morgan Schneiderlin header, following a Rickie Lambert cross, in the 54th minute.
Enter Paul Scholes and Nani. Still no equaliser in sight for the Red Devils. Sir Alex Ferguson forced to make his third and final substitution, Danny Welbeck off, Chicharito on (72′).
United’s consistent pressure finally yielded an equaliser in the 87th minute, with Van Persie finding the back of the net following Rio Ferdinand’s header off the woodwork.
Five minutes later, the Dutchman flicked in a header to secure three points for Manchester United, and a hat-trick for himself.
In the end, Van Persie turned in a five-star, man-of-the-match display against top flight new boys Southampton at The Friends Provident St Mary’s Stadium, denying the Saints a well-deserved point.
Rodgers calm after home defeat
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is confident that Liverpool will overcome their poor start to the 2012-13 English Premier League season despite suffering a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal at Anfield on Sunday.
“We’ll get better as our season progresses. It was always going to be a difficult start,” Rodgers told the Reds’ official website.
“I have an inherent belief in this way of working, and I’ve had success with it.
“Over time here, that will be the same. These are the hard yards that you’ve got to put in early on and take the flak for.”
Rodgers’ next shot at redemption comes on Saturday, September 15 against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
Can the Northern Irishman get it right in the Merseyside?