Manchester United forward Javier Hernandez is determined to have a hat-trick next to his name after inspiring a stunning fightback in the 3-2 win over Aston Villa.
The hosts stunned United by taking a two-goal lead through Andreas Weimann either side of half-time. But Hernandez turned the game on its head by scoring United’s first goal, seeing his shot deflect off Villa skipper Ron Vlaar for the equaliser, and then heading a late winner.
However, the Mexican said of the second goal: “Of course [I will claim the hat-trick]. I think I hit the target and the defender touched the ball. That’s the decision of the referee but I’ve just seen the replay and that was definitely hitting the target.”
The result sees United stretch their lead at the top of the Premier League to four points, and Hernandez admits that is more important than his personal performance.
He added: “It doesn’t matter who scored the goals. The most important thing is who is top of the league and that we came back from two goals down to win.”
Sir Alex Ferguson, the United manager, was delighted with the way his side fought back during the second half. “It was a magnificent result and a magnificent game,” he said. “Villa did fantastic today, they ran their socks off. We have to feel for them but we never gave in. We hit the bar twice but it was after the second goal we came alive, and it was a fantastic game.
“I was disappointed to go behind like that, but I started to think about [how] if we got a goal we would have a chance, and we did.
“We did put pressure on ourselves today but we came through it. The lesson is we need to do better defensively. I admire the tenacity of the performance, though. When they need to do it, they do it.”
Defeat leaves Villa just one place above the bottom three and with two wins to their name this season.
But manager Paul Lambert refused to lay the blame with his players, despite them letting slip a two-goal advantage.
“We gave it absolutely everything, we were brilliant,” he said. “I can’t fault the team. We’ve got lots of young lads in the team and they were great. I can’t ask for any more from them.”
United had looked in serious danger of slumping to a third league defeat when Villa moved 2-0 ahead with 40 minutes left. But Ferguson’s decision to introduce Hernandez for former Villa winger Ashley Young at half-time proved to be inspired.