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Page last updated at 18:18 GMT, Sunday, 24 October 2010 19:18 UK

Gary Neville excited by Hernandez talent

Sir Alex Ferguson is hoping Javier Hernandez's winner against Stoke could ignite Manchester United's season.

Mexican Hernandez, in action because of Wayne Rooney's injury, also scored a fine header in a dramatic 2-1 victory.

"He has good instinct and knows where the goal is," said United boss Ferguson after his stuttering side secured their first away league win of the campaign.

"We have some important games up until Christmas. We have to make our mark in the league. Hopefully we can kick on."

It was a wonderful performance from Hernandez, who helped to ensure a happier end to a difficult week for his 68-year-old manager having seen his top striker Rooney eventually sign a new five-year contract.

With Chelsea extending their lead at the Premier League summit on Saturday, United headed to the Britannia Stadium having drawn their previous four away fixtures.

We've played nine games this season and there have been four decisions which have affected the result

Stoke manager Tony Pulis

But the Mexican striker's two goals proved the perfect tonic for Ferguson with an astonishing backward header in the first half and a late strike which cut short Stoke's celebrations when Tuncay came off the bench to equalise on 85 minutes.

"When their goal went in you start to say to yourself it is going to be one of those seasons, but Chicharito came up with the winner," added Ferguson, referring to Hernandez by his nickname.

"The supporters reaction was fantastic to the goal and our players reaction was fantastic. It is the kind of goal United score over the years. A late goal met by incredible enthusiasm by the fans. They knew it was an important one."

The win moved United third, five points behind Chelsea, while the 22-year-old Hernandez has now scored four goals in his last five appearances since signing in July.

Hernandez delighted with double

"Hernandez deserves this. He works so hard and you get rewards for that," United defender Gary Neville told BBC Sport.

"He's tough and he's got the right attributes. His work rate and attitude is phenomenal. He's one of the most exciting young prospects we've seen at the club for some time."

Neville had been lucky to stay on the pitch in his 600th game for United following a challenge on Matthew Etherington three minutes before the interval.

With the former England right-back having already been booked, Stoke boss Tony Pulis was furious with referee Andre Marriner's decision not to show the red card.

"If it was a Stoke City player at Old Trafford and he committed those two fouls, would he have been sent off?" asked Pulis.


"We've played nine games this season and there have been four decisions which have affected the result. We've had three stonewall penalties not given and now this.

"We've been in the Premier League for 85 games and we've had three penalties, so it's a load of rubbish to say that it evens itself out. We are very disappointed.

"I am off to have a glass of wine with Sir Alex now and I doubt very much that he will disagree with me."


Pulis angry Neville not sent off

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see also
Stoke 1-2 Man Utd
24 Oct 10 |  Premier League
Sunday's Premier League photos
24 Oct 10 |  Premier League
Sunday's football as it happened
24 Oct 10 |  Football
Hernandez completes Man Utd move
27 May 10 |  Man Utd
'Time will heal' Rooney ructions
24 Oct 10 |  Man Utd
Rooney signs new Man Utd contract
22 Oct 10 |  Man Utd