Van Persie drags Man Utd to 3rd despite their poor showing against Southampton
Manchester United climb to third place in the English Premier League after they defeated Southampton 2-1 on Tuesday morning (Dec 9,Singapore time).
This despite the fact that the Red Devils were second best for most of the game: They registered just three shots on goal compared to Southampton's 15.
The much-criticised Robin van Persie was behind both United's goals.
The Dutchman put United ahead in the 12th minute at St Mary’s - pouncing on a poor back pass by Jose Fonte and scoring from an acute angle.
He then scored a 71st-minute winner from a Wayne Rooney free-kick after Graziano Pelle had equalised.
Van Persie stealing in behind the Southampton defence to score his second. Photo: Reuters
“I felt good, I’ve been feeling good over the last couple of weeks fitness wise, I can play 90 minutes easily and every time it gets easier.
Tonight I could keep it up until the last minute. That is what you want and then the goals, assists and in the end, the wins will come.
I have to just keep it going and playing well." - Van Persie to Sky Sports after the match.
The result means United climbed above Southampton and West Ham United into third place - but they were actually fortunate to emerge with victory after a lacklustre display that also saw them lose centre-back Chris Smalling to a leg injury.
Louis van Gaal’s side have now won five games in succession, which represents a timely burst of momentum ahead of Sunday’s home game with arch enemies Liverpool.
“We lost the ball too easily in the first half,” Van Gaal told Sky Sports.
“The only chances Southampton created were when we lost the ball," he said. "That was not good in spite of our good result because we got a present also from Southampton, in the second half we were better.
"But I think Southampton played better than Manchester United, yet we were the lucky guys."
Graziano Pelle shooting against Manchester United. Photo: Reuters
Southampton extended United goalkeeper David de Gea on several occasions, but having lost to Manchester City and Arsenal on their previous outings, the latest result meant a third straight defeat for Ronald Koeman’s men.
“We deserved more, but on this level the difference is detail in the game and how you handle it when opponents make mistakes.
I said to the lads: ‘We didn’t lose against United, we lost against ourselves." - Ronald Koeman
Sources: Reuters, AFP, Twitter