x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Ferguson hails Javier Hernandez's level of impact

Manchester United manager pleasantly surprised at the way the youngster has adapted in his first season at Old Trafford after he scored the winner against Everton.

Sir Alex Ferguson has backed his Manchester United side to win the Premier League title in style after they defeated Everton with a late goal at Old Trafford yesterday.

Ferguson watched his side increase their grip on the top spot courtesy of Javier Hernandez's 84th-minute header.

He then set his sights on a triumphant run-in.

United still have to play championship rivals Arsenal and Chelsea, but Ferguson said he is baffled as to why his side should be viewed as under pressure in the two top-of-the-table clashes and said he expected his team to pick up six points from the games.

"The thing that puzzles me is [the media] keep saying Arsenal and Chelsea have got to play us still, like we're going to lose them.

"Why shouldn't we win those games?"

"As I said to the players, forget all that nonsense. Just try to win your games and you'll be all right. Keep your heads and don't get carried away.

"There're only four games left and the way they are going about their business gives them an outstanding chance.

"Fixtures are running out for our rivals and the squad are up for it.

"I enjoy this critical stage of a season when we are involved in big games that come thick and fast, and I think we will be OK."

Hernandez was the hero for United with his 19th goal of the season after it had looked as if Tim Howard, the former United keeper, was going to frustrate them with a string of fine saves.

He denied Hernandez in both halves and then reacted superbly to tip away a Wayne Rooney free kick.

But he was finally beaten when Antonio Valencia's cross was deflected to Hernandez at the back post, and his downward header gave Howard no chance.

A delighted Ferguson was full of praise for Hernandez, who has made a big impact at Old Trafford after arriving last summer from Guadalajara.

"We didn't expect that level of performance," the manager said. "We thought we needed a year of introducing him to the club and adapting to English football and strengthening him up.

"He's done all those things already. He comes in every day at 9am and he's the last to leave. This boy is very dedicated."

Everton proved tough opponents to break down, and Ferguson admitted he had begin to question if it was going to be his side's day.

"Everton were very resilient and some of their defending was fantastic," he said.

"Their goalkeeper made two or three great saves and you say to yourself 'This is going to be another late one.'"

David Moyes was frustrated to see his Everton side come within seven minutes of becoming only the second side to come away from Old Trafford with a point this season.

"I thought we'd just about weathered it and maybe we could see if we could try to get a goal, but that's what happens when you open up," he said.

"I couldn't say we played well. We didn't. But there are different sides to football and for 85 minutes it looked as though we had done our job very well."

* Agency