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Page last updated at 18:09 GMT, Saturday, 2 April 2011 19:09 UK

Sir Alex Ferguson lauds Man Utd's 'champions' display

Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson had to watch from the stands for his side's win at West Ham
Ferguson made key changes to help his side to victory

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson declared his side performed like "champions" to beat West Ham.

The Premier League leaders recovered from 2-0 down to win 4-2 with striker Wayne Rooney getting a hat-trick.

"We played like champions," said Ferguson. "It was a real championship performance as far as I'm concerned.

"I said to them at half-time, 'Look, goal difference doesn't matter now - you're getting something from this game. The next goal wins the game'."

Ferguson added: "That's why I put Ryan [Giggs] back to left-back to have a go and just attack.

"It paid dividends and I'm pleased with that."

The Old Trafford outfit had fallen behind to two Mark Noble penalties after a Patrice Evra handball and Nemanja Vidic trip on Carlton Cole.

Ferguson, who was in the stands as he served the second of a five-game touchline ban, replaced Evra with striker Javier Hernandez and pushed Giggs back to left-back after the break.

I want to apologise for any offence that may have been caused by my goal celebration

Wayne Rooney

Fellow forward Dimitar Berbatov also came on before Rooney kick-started his side's comeback by converting a free-kick.

Rooney added a clinical finish and a penalty to complete a 14-minute hat-trick, while Hernandez grabbed a late goal to make sure of the victory.

"They've [the players] got the ability to turn it around - that's the first thing," added Ferguson.

"But they've got great faith in themselves, faith in the team, faith in their team-mates.

"It doesn't always work but you can rest assured, they keep trying to create and play their football, and in the second half we dominated."

The Red Devils are now seven points clear of nearest title rivals Arsenal, who could only manage a goalless home draw against Blackburn, while Chelsea are a further four points behind following the Blues' stalemate at Stoke.

Chelsea have a game in hand and have still to play the Old Trafford side but will struggle to defend their title.

"It makes an impact on us," said Ferguson on the title race. "Seven games left.

Vidic could have been sent off - Grant

"You can count the games down one by one. It ends up you run out of games and hopefully we're there.

"Arsenal have games in hand and it could go to goal difference but I somehow don't think so."

The only sour note for Ferguson's side was Rooney heard swearing by a television camera after scoring.

The Football Association said it would examine the footage before deciding to take any action but Rooney was quick to say sorry.

"I want to apologise for any offence that may have been caused by my goal celebration, especially any parents or children that were watching," said the England stirker.

"Emotions were running high and on reflection my heat-of-the-moment reaction was inappropriate. It was not aimed at anyone in particular."

The defeat dropped West Ham back into the relegation zone and Hammers boss Avram Grant believed Vidic should have been sent off for a perceived professional foul on Demba Ba rather than the yellow card he received when the visitors were trailing 2-0.

"I think so [that he should have been red carded] but I don't want to talk about the referee," said Grant.

He continued: "In the second half, they [Man Utd] had nothing to lose but we have given them too much space.

"There were a lot of positive things. We wanted to win and did everything very good in the first half. But footballers need to complete two halves."

Grant added: "The league will be very tight but I think we can do it [avoid the drop] because we have come into good shape at the right time.

"Against Manchester United, you want to take points but you do not count on winning against them.

"We still have good momentum."

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see also
West Ham 2-4 Man Utd
02 Apr 11 |  Premier League
Vidic could have been sent off - Grant
02 Apr 11 |  West Ham
Saturday football as it happened
02 Apr 11 |  Football
Saturday's football photos
02 Apr 11 |  Football

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