shock riposte, forcing United to cling on to a narrow advantage amid nervy scenes at Old Trafford.
“We didn’t really want that because when you have a two-goal lead you want to keep it for as long as possible and they scored five or six minutes [after our second goal],” van Persie admitted. “Then we had to go again and we had to find the right balance to try and score a third goal but not forget our defensive work.
“It was only a one goal difference so it was a bit tricky and they had a couple of chances, but overall I think it was a deserved win. It was a great game and a very honest game. The defence was great again and it was a proper football game.”
Sunday’s encounter at Old Trafford had van Persie lining up alongside Danny Welbeck, providing a rare glimpse of a partnership that hasn’t featured too often this season. Clearly impressed, the Dutchman was full of praise for his young sidekick after the final whistle.
“He [Welbeck] played really well. I think he was good in the combinations and played a big part in the build-up to the first goal, passing and moving to make space. A couple of times he got the ball when they made a mistake. I got it one or two times when they misplaced the ball.
“He has been brilliant. He is still young and has been really good in training, working his socks off. He is a very positive guy who wants and loves to play football. He did really well.”