Sir Alex Ferguson lauds Man Utd's 'champions' display

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson declared his side performed like "champions" to beat West Ham.

The Premier League leaders recovered from 2-0 down to win 4-2 with striker Wayne Rooney getting a hat-trick.

"We played like champions," said Ferguson. "It was a real championship performance as far as I'm concerned.

"I said to them at half-time, 'Look, goal difference doesn't matter now - you're getting something from this game. The next goal wins the game'."

Ferguson added: "That's why I put Ryan [Giggs] back to left-back to have a go and just attack.

"It paid dividends and I'm pleased with that."

The Old Trafford outfit had fallen behind to two Mark Noble penalties after a Patrice Evra handball and Nemanja Vidic trip on Carlton Cole.

Ferguson, who was in the stands as he served the second of a five-game touchline ban, replaced Evra with striker Javier Hernandez and pushed Giggs back to left-back after the break.

Fellow forward Dimitar Berbatov also came on before Rooney kick-started his side's comeback by converting a free-kick.

Rooney added a clinical finish and a penalty to complete a 14-minute hat-trick, while Hernandez grabbed a late goal to make sure of the victory.

"They've [the players] got the ability to turn it around - that's the first thing," added Ferguson.

"But they've got great faith in themselves, faith in the team, faith in their team-mates.

"It doesn't always work but you can rest assured, they keep trying to create and play their football, and in the second half we dominated."

The Red Devils are now seven points clear of nearest title rivals Arsenal, who could only manage a goalless home draw against Blackburn, while Chelsea are a further four points behind following the Blues' stalemate at Stoke.

Chelsea have a game in hand and have still to play the Old Trafford side but will struggle to defend their title.

"It makes an impact on us," said Ferguson on the title race. "Seven games left.

"You can count the games down one by one. It ends up you run out of games and hopefully we're there.

"Arsenal have games in hand and it could go to goal difference but I somehow don't think so."

The only sour note for Ferguson's side was Rooney heard swearing by a television camera after scoring.

The Football Association said it would examine the footage before deciding to take any action but Rooney was quick to say sorry.

"I want to apologise for any offence that may have been caused by my goal celebration, especially any parents or children that were watching," said the England stirker.

"Emotions were running high and on reflection my heat-of-the-moment reaction was inappropriate. It was not aimed at anyone in particular."

The defeat dropped West Ham back into the relegation zone and Hammers boss Avram Grant believed Vidic should have been sent off for a perceived professional foul on Demba Ba rather than the yellow card he received when the visitors were trailing 2-0.

"I think so [that he should have been red carded] but I don't want to talk about the referee," said Grant.

He continued: "In the second half, they [Man Utd] had nothing to lose but we have given them too much space.

"There were a lot of positive things. We wanted to win and did everything very good in the first half. But footballers need to complete two halves."

Grant added: "The league will be very tight but I think we can do it [avoid the drop] because we have come into good shape at the right time.

"Against Manchester United, you want to take points but you do not count on winning against them.

"We still have good momentum."

Source: BBC Sport
Date Published: 4 April 2011

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United very angry with the media who have been on a witchhunt since they did not get their way re the Wigan elbow. Now that Rooney has his 2 match ban they feel they have proved their point, and so now suddenly are all saying the Rooney ban (that they hyped up and provoked) is too much. On a nicer note, justice was done with that dodgy pen not given last night.

- Oli

Ridiculous. And he was just hitting form!

- Abner

That's a load of bollox. Hopefully Berbatov has been annoyed with his role on the bench recently and comes back into the starting line up fired up out to prove a point.

- Munsterman

2 matches upheld. misses the semi-final.

- Pahtu20

for f****** sake

- Pahtu20

Was keeping tabs on the score while watching the India game....never has it happened before that I've opted to watch something else when there's a United game on...but I can't say I regret it entirely, One of the best days of my life yesterday cause of what happened in Mumbai..but after watching the highlights from our game, and then seeing Arsenal and Chelsea messing up, it capped off a truly amazing day.. Roll on Stamford Bridge!

- Zain

I said to my Dad at half-time we'd still win it. Glad I was right too! I felt like we played pretty well in the first half, and just unfortunate to be down 2-0 down to two stupid mistakes that led to penalties. Big day in the title race I feel also; wth Arsenal showing their lack of fight and Chelsea struggling away. Roll on Stamford Bridge, the treble is on.

- Shaun

Was it a fairly similar stage in the first of the 3 back to back titles that we did this at Everton? At half time I turned the box off and got on with bitch chores to keep the irrational money pit that I promised to love, honour & obey and turned my phone back on as Hernandez made it 4. The fact that Chelski & Arsenal fcuked up afterwards made it even better.

- jonny

One of the best days in sports for me, and as usual, United played a major role! That comeback was simply brilliant - 45 min into the game, I couldn't help but think Arsenal were about to be gifted a great, great chance to possibly be only 3 points behind us with a game in hand. How grateful I am to have been proven wrong. And if that wasn't enough, Chelsea and Arsenal both dropped points. And if THAT wasn't enough, my country won the Cricket World Cup. What a fantastic day!

- Abner

Epic. Embarrassed to say i missed the first 40 min and found myself looking at the score at half time thinking "WTF?!"... I knew straight away the first went in that draw will be the least to get from the game. Great f*ckin job and what a day to stage a comeback. Both chel and arse to drop points... ROONEY ROONEY ROONEY!

- Pahtu20