Fergie hails 'a good day' for United

Published Nov. 20, 2010 7:48 p.m. ET

Sir Alex Ferguson hailed 'a good day' for Manchester United: three points, defeats for their main title rivals and Wayne Rooney back in action for the first time since signing a new contract.

Headed goals by Patrice Evra, his first since April 2007, and substitute Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez secured the points to leave Ferguson satisfied - especially with Chelsea and Arsenal suffering losses.

Ferguson said: "It has been a good day for us, no question of that.

"If you had said at the start of the day would you take being joint top of the league I would have said 'yes'.

"We know that come the second half of the season we will definitely get better and now we are joint top with Chelsea."

Rooney made his first appearance since the contract saga that saw the England striker threaten to leave before signing a new five-year deal - and he came off the bench after 57 minutes mainly to cheers although there were some jeers too.

Ferguson added: "That [the reception] was good - that will be pleasing for him, settle him down and make him realise he is at the right club, no doubt about that.


"It was a quiet comeback, he got involved in a few of the bits of interplay but in the main he just needed that 25 minutes or so.

"He will play against Rangers on Wednesday and that will be the perfect match for him to come back and get 90 minutes."

Wigan had started brighter than United and passed up several chances before Evra struck just before the break, and the match swung in United's favour entirely when Antolin Alcaraz and Hugo Rodallega both got themselves sent off for unnecessary challenges.

Ferguson added: "I thought Wigan were very aggressive, they had a lot of real aggressive challenges tested the referee throughout the game. They put themselves about.

"The centre-back [Alcaraz] had a few tackles and fouls in the first half and when you do that you ride your luck and it was a silly challenge on Darren Fletcher, who was going back toward his own goal.

Ferguson had begun the match with an inexperienced attack of Federico Macheda and Gabriel Obertan and there was not even a place for £30million Dimitar Berbatov on the bench.

The United manager confirmed the striker was not injured, saying: "I just left him out - picking my subs today I just thought I had to give a different type of variety."

Wigan have dropped into the bottom three as a result of the defeat but manager Roberto Martinez said he could comfort from his team's resilience after going down to nine men - last season they were on the receiving end of a 5-0 drubbing.

Martinez said: "Everything was going according to plan - we looked really resilient and strong and were frustrating Manchester United and we looked like the team who were going to score.

"But we allowed the frustration to develop and that knocked our concentration.

"When you go down to eight outfield players it's easy to capitulate but be showed real character and steel to form the basis for a good platform for the future."

Martinez said he did not want to comment on the performance of referee Martin Atkinson but admitted his players should have controlled themselves better.

He added: "It's not just those two incidents - this is one of the toughest places to come in European football and we allowed that frustration to develop over the small decisions, not the big calls.

"We should have controlled ourselves a bit better."