Manchester United 3-0 Aston Villa
Sir Alex reacts:
“The players’ focus was fantastic this season,” Sir Alex said. “They didn’t get themselves annoyed by what happened last season. A lot of teams – most teams in the country – would have melted. But not this bunch.
“They went on and did what Manchester United expects of them and raised the bar. You could go on and on and on about losing a title, and we’ve had to do that in my time. I think our consistency for the last 20 years has been unbelievable. It’s been a marvellous performance. We’ve got 84 points with four games left – fantastic.
“The one thing I said to them at the start of the season was: ‘Make sure you do not lose on goal difference again’. Last season was the first time we’ve ever lost on goal difference. We’ve always had a superior goal difference to all our opponents. That was the point where I realised that was the challenge: our goal difference must be better than theirs across the road.”
“Put it in context: we’ve now got 84 points with four games left and we’ve never done that. We’ve won most of our games, drawn three, lost four and the goal [van Persie’s second] tonight… it doesn’t matter where you place that in terms of all the great goals we’ve scored, from David Beckham, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Eric Cantona…
“That pedestal is there, the players have joined that pedestal. We’ve got some young, exciting players – you’ve seen how De Gea’s improved over the season into an outstanding goalkeeper, young Rafa, you saw Jones tonight… arguably the way he’s looking, he could be our best ever player.”
“Robin’s been unbelievable,” said Sir Alex. “He had that dry spell where he hadn’t scored for a few weeks but the penalty kick at Stoke brought it back. He was unbelievable tonight, unbelievable. Fantastic.
“He has to take a lot of the credit – his goals tell you that and his performance levels tell you that. I’m sure Robin would be saying what a great bunch of players I’ve got with me – they’re a great bunch of players.”