MAN UNITED 3, QPR 1
If Sir Alex Ferguson asks for an amendment to the Premier League constitution, requiring Manchester United to give their opponents an automatic lead before every game, it would be no surprise.
This was the 12th time this season that the Reds manager has seen his side trail…. and they have come back to win in nine of them!
Rangers’ new manager Harry Redknapp watched his team from the stands and he would have seen much to give him heart in the task ahead. But Redknapp starts from a low base with his bottom side yet to win in 13 league outings.
The Londoners frustrated United in a listless first half of few chances.
Two Wayne Rooney shots – both saved by Rangers goalkeeper Julio Cesar – provided the highlights of a forgetable 45 minutes.
United were stung into action at the start of the second period when Rangers took a 52nd minute lead.
Kieron Dyer played a corner to Adel Taarabt on the left corner of the United box and immediately received the ball back from the Morroccan. Dyer’s cross-cum-shot was parried by United goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard at the near post, but Jamie Mackie was perfectly placed to tuck in the rebound from close range.
Ferguson brought on Anderson for the ineffective Ashley Young and super sub Javier Hernandez for Paul Scholes, and the Reds produced a seven-minute cameo of brilliance.
In the 64th minute, Rooney replaced Robin van Persie on corner duty and this paid immediate dividends. Danny Welbeck nodded the ball down in the centre of the six-yard box, Hernandez turned it on and Jonny Evans powered in to head home from close range.
Four minutes later, another Rooney corner to the far post saw Darren Fletcher beat Anton Ferdinand to head the ball into the roof of the net. It was the Scottish captain’s first goal in his first league start for 13 months.
United’s third goal three minutes later was the best of the trio. Anderson’s surging run from the halfway line saw him pass three Rangers players before supplying Hernandez with the ball on the edge of the penalty area and the Mexican finished with a shot of clinical precision.
The Reds had further chances, although Rangers could have made it a worrying finale for the home side had Rafael not cleared Clint Hill’s header off the United line.
Ferguson, whose team went back to the top of the table following the result, said: “Teams often put together a string of good results after a manager is sacked and we knew Rangers would show determination.
“They worked hard and were very close today, but when we started to play there was no doubt about the result. It has been a long road back for Darren Fletcher. He never lets us down and works like a Trojan. We are all pleased he got his goal.”