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Sunday, 20 January, 2002, 11:05 GMT
Ruud's record joy
Rudd van Nistelrooy scores with a penalty
Van Nistelrooy wheels away after his record strike
Ruud van Nistelrooy declared he was "very proud" after setting a new Premiership record in Manchester United's 2-1 win over Blackburn.

The Dutch striker netted from the penalty spot to become the first player to score in eight successive Premiership matches.

He passed the previous mark of seven he shared with Mark Stein, Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry.

Van Nistelrooy has also equalled Liam Whelan's 1956-7 record of scoring in eight consecutive league games for United.

"You see the names who are there on seven and I can be very proud that I've broken it," van Nistelrooy said.


It's a marvellous achievement to score in eight games in a row
Sir Alex Ferguson

David Beckham had stepped up to take the penalty just before half-time, awarded when Brad Friedel was adjudged to have brought down Laurent Blanc.

But the England captain graciously handed the ball to van Nistelrooy instead.

"He wanted to take it because he was the one today to take it," van Nistelrooy explained. "But he looked at me and said `Ruud if you want to take it, take it'.

"I didn't hesitate and I took it. First of all it was a very important moment just before half-time and I had missed my last penalty against Olympiakos. So for me it was a tough one to take, but I concentrated well.

Graeme Souness
Souness was unhappy with the penalty award

"I put the ball a few times on the spot, but in the end it went in the back of the net and I was very pleased."

Sir Alex Ferguson had words of praise for the feat of van Nistelrooy, who nearly added a spectacular second with an overhead kick which hit the bar.

"It's a marvellous achievement to score in eight games in a row," Ferguson told MUTV. "He's in great form. I always feel if he gets a chance he will score.

"I think David was going to take it, but the fact that Ruud was going for the record, David decided to let him have it."

The circumstances surrounding van Nistelrooy's record-breaker drew criticism from Blackburn manager Graeme Souness.

Souness was adamant Blanc had dived to win the penalty from which van Nistelrooy scored.

Eight successive wins

"It wasn't a penalty," said the Rovers manager. "He's kicked it and dived. I don't blame Laurent Blanc in that situation and that's what most people would have done.

"The goalkeeper has committed himself and he hasn't made contact. The ball was long gone before he made contact. There was no way Laurent Blanc was going to get on the end of that ball."

United's eighth successive league win has enabled them to open up a two-point lead at the top of the Premiership table.

Despite Craig Hignett equalising for Rovers early in the second half, United captain Roy Keane ensured victory with an 80th-minute winner.

"That's the quality you need at this time of year," Ferguson added. "A lot of games are going to be won late on and we're capable of doing that."

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's John Murray
"Blackburn wasted two very good chances"
Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson
"It was a very open game"
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