I think we played like champions today. We kept our heads up, we didn’t lose faith in our ability and it was a great boost to us in that respect.
Sir Alex Ferguson
United’s rousing come-from-behind win at Upton Park bore the hallmark of champions, according to Sir Alex Ferguson.
Wayne Rooney’s 15-minute hat-trick and a late clincher from Chicharito overturned Mark Noble’s first-half pair of penalties, and the United boss was delighted with the methodical way in which his side chipped away at the scoreline and took the points.
“I think we played like champions today,” Sir Alex told Sky Sports. “We kept our heads up, we didn’t lose faith in our ability and it was a great boost to us in that respect. It’s not an easy place to come to, and they’re fighting relegation, but we dominated that second half and it was a real championship performance as far as I’m concerned.
“Arsenal have got the games in hand, of course. It could go to goal difference, but somehow I don’t think so. We have to win our games, but that was a great boost to us to get that result. We’ve four home games, three away and the important thing for the players is that they go and play.”
The Reds’ gradual suffocation of the hosts owed much to the half-time introduction of Chicharito and the form of Antonio Valencia, with the former playing a perfect foil to Wayne Rooney and the latter terrorising Hammers full-back Wayne Bridge.
“Valencia had them on toast really,” said the Boss. “He’s so confident on the ball and they couldn’t get the ball off him, so we were always going to get in that position where Valencia had possession on the edge of the box. In the first half he delivered two or three fantastic balls in, but we just didn’t get enough on the end of them to capitalise.
“In the second half, when Chicharito came on, he gives you that lightning pace and he’s threatening all the time behind them, so it meant they were going right back towards their box and that left us a lot of space to operate.
“I have to say, being two goals behind at half-time was a travesty in terms of our possession of the ball and the chances we created. They probably only had two shots at goal. But when you’re two goals down at half-time, you’re under the kosh in that respect, and we had to go for it. Going for it is important for us.”