Alan Pardew accuses Robin van Persie of elbowing Yohan Cabaye
Newcastle United’s manager Alan Pardew, has accused Robin van Persie of souring an excellent Manchester United performance by elbowing Yohan Cabaye in the face.
Van Persie, who had been involved in several verbal exchanges with the French midfielder during the match, did appear deliberately to run into Cabaye late in the second half and raise his elbow sharply as they came together.
The incident was ugly and may well lead to retrospective action by the Football Association and a three-game ban for the Dutch striker, but it should not immediately overshadow a fine all-round performance from Manchester United.
The visitors scored two goals via headers from corners by Jonny Evans and Patrice Evrwa during a dominant opening 20 minutes and then defended superbly to repel a spirited Newcastle fightback before Tom Cleverley’s cross-shot looped into the top corner to make sure of the three points.
Pardew did not deny his team had been well beaten, but he insisted the FA needed to look at video evidence and punish Van Persie, who angered Newcastle’s players last season when playing for Arsenal for repeatedly goading his young Dutch team-mate, goalkeeper Tim Krul.
“He’s looked at Yohan and he’s elbowed him,” said Pardew. “I think that needs to be looked at. You say there was a bit of history there and I don’t know whether he’s got caught up in that, but that was just a little bit of unsavouriness in the game.
“I’ve obviously seen the replay and it looks like Van Persie’s looked at him and put the elbow in. The FA need to look at it, not me.
“I’m not going to take anything away from United, they deserved to win. They came and played very, very well in periods of that game.”
Sir Alex Ferguson was certainly pleased with the performance, and argued it was his side’s best of the season, with Wayne Rooney particularly influential playing at the point of a midfield diamond.
“Although in the second half against Spurs we were terrific, that was an absolutely brilliant performance, but for the whole game today we were on the top of our game,” said Ferguson, who contrasted the game to his side’s 3-0 defeat here in January.
“There was concentration and determination, everything you want to see in a team that’s going to win.
“Last time here I wouldn’t say we were bullied off the pitch, but we were second to every ball. Tonight that didn’t happen.
“There was a bit of pressure on us after City and Chelsea winning because you don’t want to fall far behind. If we hadn’t won today we would have been seven points behind Chelsea.
“We’re in the frame, we’re up there and obviously every game is important now because we want to stay up there and I think we can do that.”
Had Newcastle scored at the start of the second half, United might have been given a sterner test, but Papiss Cissé’s header was adjudged not to have crossed the line when David de Gea hooked it out.
The sooner the Premier League introduces goal-line technology the sooner this weary debate will be over, although Ferguson admitted he felt the goal should have stood.
“The whole ball has got to be over,” he added. “But I would have been disappointed if we had not been given a goal in that situation.”
Rooney, though, was more interested in talking up the importance of the win than worrying about new technology.
“It is a huge result” he said. “Newcastle away is probably one of the hardest games of the season. We came here, defended brilliantly and scored three goals, so overall we fully deserved the victory. There was a focus about us and we need to continue to do that for the rest of the season if we are going to be successful.”