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26/04/2010 08:02, Report by Stewart Gardner
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United can be champions

Quality, consistency and luck are all important if you want to win the league. But on Saturday at Old Trafford, United displayed two more title-winning attributes: bravery and know-how.



Patrice Evra showed bravery. It was clear he wasn’t feeling the best and it can’t be too pleasant emptying the contents of your stomach in front of 75,000 people. Lesser mortals would have gone off straight away. But the Frenchman found the determination to soldier on and set up United’s opening goal after he was fouled in the area by the hapless Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

There was bravery from Nani, too. If you're sent through on goal with nine minutes to play in a game where the stakes are so high, you've got to have some bottle to attempt a delicate dink of a finish. Just imagine what the reaction would have been had he made a mess of it. Now and then Nani drives us all mad but he's got that X factor and can produce the extraordinary as we saw against Bayern Munich.

On Saturday he also won the match-clinching penalty with a driving run into the box. To complete an eventful afternoon, the Portuguese winger "did an Evra" and threw up on the hallowed Old Trafford turf. I wonder what United groundsman Tony Sinclair makes of it all? I’m pretty sure stomach contents aren't the ideal fertiliser for his magnificently manicured surface.

So that’s bravery dealt with. United also exude know-how. Quite simply, they know how to win. When Ledley King headed home a Spurs equaliser, United didn't panic. In fact, the Reds remained remarkably calm. There was no lumping the ball forward in desperation, there was no headless-chicken-style football. United just continued to play, buoyed by the confidence that comes with winning countless games in the dying stages.

Ryan Giggs has done everything in football. But until Saturday, he’d never scored a league penalty. And yet you’d never have known that when the great man stepped up in front of the Stretford End. Did you think for a moment he was going to miss?

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