Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson paid tribute to forward Danny Welbeck after his role in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Liverpool.
The 22-year-old was handed a start ahead of Javier Hernandez for the English Premier League clash at Old Trafford.
Despite not getting on the scoresheet, Welbeck was a constant threat and Ferguson was pleased with his performance.
“Danny was fantastic,” Ferguson told MUTV. “I thought he gave them a real hard day of it, the two centre-backs.
“He and Robin (van Persie), particularly in the first half, gave them a very difficult time.
“The reason Danny played was because we wanted someone who would drop on top of their centre-midfield player. He did that well and put in a great shift.
“He ran his legs off today and deserved the man-of-the-match award really.”
Welbeck’s strike partner van Persie also came in for praise from his manager after opening the scoring and sending in the cross for Nemanja Vidic’s winner.
The United defence and goalkeeper David de Gea were subject to criticism, with Daniel Sturridge allowed to hand Liverpool a lifeline after being introduced at half-time.
“I’ve not seen their goal again,” Ferguson said. “But, to me, it looked a bit soft for us. Once again, the goalie has parried one out and there’s nobody following in on the rebound.
“It did lift them but some of our defending was a bit erratic and desperate even at times, but we managed to get through it.”
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was disappointed by the way his side conceded their goals, but felt their second-half performance deserved at least a point.
He told Sky Sports: “We’re disappointed with those goals but we’ll take great hope from the second-half performance.
“We know the improvements we need to make if we’re to sustain a challenge at the top of the table.”
The Northern Irishman also praised January signing Sturridge, who provided Liverpool with a spark after coming on.
“I thought he was a real threat when he came on. He’s an outstanding young player who just needed an opportunity,” Rodgers said.
“He’s now got two goals in two games and he’ll score many goals for Liverpool for sure.”