We knew van Persie would make a big difference to us, says Fergie
SIR Alex Ferguson claimed he knew striker Robin van Persie would make the difference for Manchester United this season.
On Monday, Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini expressed his fear that the failure to land Van Persie will prove pivotal in the title race.
And Van Persie offered more evidence to back up that theory with a double in United's 4-0 win over Wigan at the DW Stadium, which took his tally for the season to 19.
The first goal in particular was a gem, as he took Javier Hernandez's square ball before stepping inside Ivan Ramis and then belting a superb shot into the corner with his supposedly weaker right foot.
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"We knew we were getting a top player who would make a difference to the team," said Ferguson. "That is why we went for him. Robin is a completely rounded footballer. He has great international experience, he played for Arsenal for seven years and he came to us at the very peak of his career. His ability to make and take goals is fantastic.
"His play for his first goal was absolutely magnificent, his turn, his balance, no drawback, just side footed it in. It was a really good goal."
Van Persie's contribution was matched by that of strike partner Hernandez, who took his own tally to 12, just eight short of his stellar first season in England.
"Since Javier came, he has shown he is a penalty-box player," said Ferguson.
"He is tremendous. He latches on to things. He is brilliant."
The victory completed an impressive ten-point haul for United from their four festive games and they even managed to keep a second consecutive clean sheet.
United remain seven clear of Manchester City and without some kind of injury affecting Van Persie, it is difficult to see the Red Devils squandering their advantage in the same way they did 12 months ago.
Ferguson is taking every precaution, and that means resting key men for next week's FA Cup tie at West Ham.
"We will make a few changes for the cup tie," said Ferguson.
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez conceded his team were beaten by the better side, with the Latics lacking sufficient strength in depth to cope with a run of four games in 11 days.
"It was very unfair to play against the leaders in a period like that," he said. "We didn't have the legs or the reaction and you have to congratulate Manchester United."