Updated: Monday, 16th December 2019 @ 11:07am

Sir Alex Ferguson applauds ‘battling’ Manchester United performance after Sunderland victory

Sir Alex Ferguson applauds ‘battling’ Manchester United performance after Sunderland victory

By John McDougall

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson feels the Red Devils’ victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light was born of grit and determination.

Black Cats defender Titus Bramble deflected Robin van Persie’s first-half shot into his own net as United maintained their 15-point lead over rivals Manchester City.  

After securing their seventh successive Premier League win and six consecutive league clean sheet, Ferguson believes United’s concentration levels and focus have shone through as the season climax approaches. 

“It was a battling performance by the players,” Ferguson told Sky Sports. “We picked up two or three injuries along the way and I think it was courage that got us through.

“The concentration is now much better. Earlier in the season we were losing goals but we are getting defenders back.

“The players have galvanised themselves with their team spirit, concentration and focus in every game. It is all down to the efforts of the players.” 

United took the lead on 27 minutes when van Persie’s angled shot took a deflection off Bramble’s leg and went past Simon Mignolet.

Mignolet was on hand to deny United winger Ashley Young five minutes later producing a brilliant save to keep out the England man’s free-kick.

The Belgian international denied the Red Devils from a free-kick again on 41 minutes, this time denying van Persie.

United full-back Alexander Buttner forced Mignolet to parry wide on 80 minutes from a long-range shot, and van Persie was again denied by the Belgian in stoppage time.

United have become the first side in Premier League history to win 25 of their first 30 games and have now not conceded in the league for 660 minutes.

With van Persie still without a strike in his last eight United games, Ferguson is not worried about his £24million striker, believing goals will come sooner rather than later.    

“I think scoring for Holland in the two internationals has helped him – goal scorers are like that,” said Ferguson.

“When they don’t score for two or three games, they start to wonder when they’re next going to score a goal. When they do, they get back into it.

“I thought it was a wicked hit by him and a fantastic shot. It was certainly a difficult ball for any goalkeeper to handle.”

Image courtesy of BBC Sport, via YouTube, with thanks.

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