FOOTBALL NEWS

29/08/2009 19:26, Report by Ben Hibbs

Sir Alex: We had to dig deep

Sir Alex Ferguson was delighted to see his side “dig deep” and turnaround Arsenal’s 1-0 half time lead to clinch an important victory.

United went behind to a fine strike from Andrei Arshavin at the end of the first half, but the Reds stepped it up a gear after the break. “We like to win, and win by playing well," said Sir Alex. "Both are important. I think we did that in the second half and deserved to win based on that performance.”

The Reds boss spoke specifically about last season’s disappointing record against the league's elite sides. That has to change this season, he said. And his players didn't let him down.

“When you are 1-0 down at half time it’s an uphill task against a team of the capabilities of Arsenal. We had to dig deep,” he said. “This result can make a difference and the players will gather momentum from this win.

“Last season we dropped four points to Arsenal and six against Liverpool. We were a bit unlucky there, but you have to correct these things. Already we’ve made a better start this season in that respect.”

After a week of controversy around diving, Sir Alex feels that referee Mike Dean got two important calls right on the day. Darren Fletcher’s challenge on Arshavin in the first half was, the boss says, strong but fair. While Manuel Almunia’s foul on Wayne Rooney that led to a spot-kick for United was also correct.

“The penalty was a clear penalty,” he said. “With Darren Fletcher’s challenge, he got the ball. The referee was ten yards away and called it right. It was a committed challenge by Darren. If he was a fraction out it would have been a penalty, but I think it was the right decision, no doubt about it.”

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