‘This is a team of winners’ says Van Persie as United edge towards title
MANCHESTER UNITED moved another step closer to the Barclays Premier League title today as they won 1-0 at Sunderland, and striker Robin Van Persie was quick to praise the attitude of his team-mates.
United are 18 points clear of nearest rivals Manchester City as a result and it would take a collapse of dramatic proportions for them to throw the title away.
Van Persie claimed the only goal today, although replays suggested his shot was not going in until Titus Bramble put it into his own net, but the striker was not too concerned.
"We got the three points, we knew it would be tough because Sunderland work hard and we had to dig in, but we deserved it," he told Sky Sports 2.
"It didn't matter who scored today, it was all about the three points.
"This team is full of winners, everyone knows what they have to do and it was never in doubt for me. I was confident we would win."
A title coronation seems inevitable in the next couple of weeks and midfielder Michael Carrick is anticipating winning another medal.
"We played some good football today, even if we didn't get as many goalscoring opportunities as we'd have liked," he added.
"It was all about coming here and winning. We're getting closer and it's one game less. We have to keep going."
United missed out on the title on the last day of the season at Sunderland last May and manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been pleased with their response.
"The players have been galvanised. Their spirit, concentration and focus have been excellent," he said."We have 25 wins from 30 games, which I think is a record, and that's all down to the efforts of the players.
"We just have to win games and that is the important thing to focus on."
On Van Persie, who had been without a goal in seven games, the Scot added: "When you do get back scoring you get back into the stream. I'm not sure if it was an own goal but it was a wicked hit from him, a fantastic shot.
"Sunderland had a real go at us. We had a few crosses to deal with and it was an important win."
Sunderland remain in big trouble towards the foot of the table and their fans are worried as their fixture list is showing no signs of doing them any favours.
Manager Martin O'Neill, though, thinks he has seen enough to suggest they will be okay.
"I thought we were tentative and nervous and the start but then we stormed into the game in the second half," he said. "I was very pleased with the team.
"I was delighted with the effort of the team and it bodes well. There is some determination in that dressing room."