Robin van Persie said “the stadium exploded” in celebration when his injury-time goal clinched a late draw for Manchester United against Chelsea.
The Dutchman, who conjured the perfect captain’s intervention late in the match, also feels that by earning a point United also proved one: the Reds are progressing and can compete with the best in England – and with the way Chelsea have raced into the distance so far in the Barclays Premier League, you couldn’t argue with that status.
“It was a big relief for the fans, for the players and for everyone at Manchester United that we got the goal in the end. The whole stadium exploded and it gave us a big boost,” Robin told MUTV.
“If you look at the chances we created today, we should at least score one or two goals. If you look at the facts, after 90 minutes we were 1-0 down. That doesn’t tell the whole story, but you have to score your chances.”
Van Persie was booked for his celebration, taking off his shirt in the delirious aftermath, and he got caught up in the moment.
“I know it’s one of the rules that you have to keep your shirt on but sometimes you forget and everything comes together and the whole place explodes,” he said. “It was one of those fantastic moments and the main thing today is that we got something out of this game because we deserved it.”
That said, it had looked as though Chelsea were headed for victory, as Jose Mourinho’s men sought to shut up shop after Didier Drogba headed the Blues in front.
“You know Chelsea, especially with Mourinho as their coach, they will make defensive changes and lock the whole place down,” added van Persie. “That is what [Mourinho] is known for so you know that it’s going to be tough if they score a goal. But everyone kept believing and we really went for it. Credit to the players, but credit to the fans as well because they really stood behind us. They were absolutely great.”
The result boosts confidence with yet more difficult games to come as United visit Manchester City next weekend. “We all know that this club wants to go for the highest – first place,” continued Robin. “So today showed everyone that we can compete with the best in England – I think soon with the best in Europe too. It’s just a process and we are now in the middle of that process. It’s getting better every day, we are improving all the time. Today showed that.”