It may be scant consolation for Javier Hernandez but after losing in the league for the first time with United, the Mexican has won the first ManUtd.com Player of the Month award for 2011.
In one of the closest ever polls on the website, Chicharito gleaned the same percentage as fellow striker Dimitar Berbatov – 45 per cent – but pipped the Bulgarian by just 69 of the total 33,000 votes cast.
Ryan Giggs and Nemanja Vidic were also on ManUtd.com’s shortlist for January, a month in which the Reds picked up 13 league points from a possible 15 and progressed through two rounds of the FA Cup.
Hernandez’s contribution to the cause included two match-winning strikes away to West Brom and Southampton (both 2-1), and two other vital goals – the first against Stoke City (2-1) and the equaliser in United’s dramatic comeback at Blackpool (3-2).
No wonder United players, as well as fans on ManUtd.com, have been queuing up to give the Mexican credit. Darren Fletcher told MUTV recently: “Chicha is a natural goalscorer so when you bring someone on like him, there are always going to be goalscoring opportunities.
“He’s still young and improving his game, but he’s already got a great eye for goal. He showed great coolness for his goal [against Blackpool] because he’d missed a chance just before that. He didn’t let that affect him and that’s a sign of a good goalscorer.”
Sir Alex said after the Southampton game: “Hernandez only had one chance and he scored. One chance, one goal is a tremendous ratio. He has great feet in and around the box and gets his shots away quickly.”
This is the second time Hernandez has won ManUtd.com’s monthly award – he also topped the October 2010 poll. Other winners in 2010/11 so far are Paul Scholes (August), Berbatov (September) and Ji-sung Park (November and December).