Rio Ferdinand praised Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez after United's Mexican striker came off the bench to seal a superb win over Valencia.
The summer signing kept his cool in the cauldron of the Mestalla stadium and claimed the headlines with a cool finish five minutes from time - a goal that will further increase his stock with United fans and players alike.
Ferdinand enthused: “He is a fantastic lad. He comes to early training every day and he is one of the last to leave, he has a great attitude and he always wants to learn and get in the team. But that is the same with all the lads like Kiko and Michael Owen. We have the players who can come in and make a difference for us."
Turning to United's table-topping win, the defender revealed the Reds set out to stifle the opposition and then steal a goal. The final score suggests the plan was perfectly executed.
“I think we came to set our stall out to make sure we didn’t concede and hit them on the counter attack," reflected Rio. "I thought in the first half we contained them but didn’t really offer much ourselves going forward.
“In the second half we improved a little bit, kept the ball and then the two substitutes combined with Nani to score a great goal.
“The result is definitely a confidence boost. Obviously it has been well documented that we have let points slip in recent games and you do get nervous when you’re on a run like that but tonight I thought we dealt with it well as a team.”
Having played just twice this season following a lengthy spell on the sidelines, Ferdinand showed little sign of rustiness. Instead he gave the type of performance that has become synonymous with the elegant defender and his delight at playing again was evident.
“It was good. I’m just pleased to be back and playing," he smiled. “I enjoy playing football, that is what I know and do best. To get out there and play 90 minutes is just fantastic and to get a win