Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson described Robin van Persie as ‘terrific’ after the Dutch striker’s hat-trick helped the Reds to a 3-2 win at Southampton.
Van Persie, a summer capture from Arsenal, also missed a penalty in an entertaining encounter at St Mary’s as United came from 2-1 down to snatch all three points.
United were behind twice, first when Rickie Lambert nodded the Saints into a 16th minutes and then to a Morgan Schneiderlin header just after the break.
But van Persie’s hat-trick was enough to seal the win, much to the delight of Sir Alex.
He said: “His first goal was magnificent – the control and then to bury it. It was a really good goal.
“His header was excellent, too, but he has been a terrific player for us.”
As for van Persie’s spot kick – an ill-executed chipped effort that was easily saved by Southampton keeper Kelvin Davis – Sir Alex admitted he was surprised his star striker had wasted the opportunity.
“I was surprised [at Van Persie’s spot-lick] because every time I have seen him take a penalty he rattles it in the corners,” he said.
“He made up for it, though. He had six attempts on goal and was a real threat.”