Van Persie: We deserved victory
Robin van Persie believes Manchester United deserved to beat Liverpool on Sunday, claiming afterwards that “everybody felt the importance of this fixture during the week.”
The match had been billed as the battle of the strikers as pundits compared the Dutchman to Luis Suarez, although the former Arsenal star was the clear victor in that rivalry after scoring the opening goal on 19 minutes before helping to create Nemanja Vidic’s winner with a free-kick in the second half.
Although his was a fine finish to break the deadlock, van Persie was quick to credit the build-up play from his team-mates and expressed his belief that the Reds could have scored more goals during a dominant first-half display at Old Trafford.
“It was an unbelievable goal with great combinations,” Robin told MUTV. “Michael Carrick was involved, Danny Welbeck was involved, as well as Tom [Cleverley] and Shinji [Kagawa], and then it went out on the left to Pat, who put a really good cross in and it was a good finish. It was a great goal – especially the build-up.
“Everybody felt the importance of this fixture during the week and we are really happy with the result. We had a good first half and it should have been more than 1-0 in my opinion.
“In the second half, Liverpool played for all or nothing with lots of attackers so we had to dig in and fight for each other, helping each other out where possible. We did that and we fought hard. We got the result we wanted.”
Victory had appeared to be sewn up after Vidic deflected home Evra’s header shortly after the half-time break until Liverpool’s new-signing Daniel Sturridge produced a shock riposte, forcing United to cling on to a narrow advantage amid nervy scenes at Old Trafford.
“We didn’t really want that because when you have a two-goal lead you want to keep it for as long as possible and they scored five or six minutes [after our second goal],” van Persie admitted. “Then we had to go again and we had to find the right balance to try and score a third goal but not forget our defensive work.
“It was only a one goal difference so it was a bit tricky and they had a couple of chances, but overall I think it was a deserved win. It was a great game and a very honest game. The defence was great again and it was a proper football game.”
Sunday’s encounter at Old Trafford had van Persie lining up alongside Danny Welbeck, providing a rare glimpse of a partnership that hasn’t featured too often this season. Clearly impressed, the Dutchman was full of praise for his young sidekick after the final whistle.
“He [Welbeck] played really well. I think he was good in the combinations and played a big part in the build-up to the first goal, passing and moving to make space. A couple of times he got the ball when they made a mistake. I got it one or two times when they misplaced the ball.
“He has been brilliant. He is still young and has been really good in training, working his socks off. He is a very positive guy who wants and loves to play football. He did really