Ferguson hails hat-trick hero Persie

But the Dutch forward’s two clinical finishes in the final three minutes helped United snatch the points from Southampton’s grasp after Rickie Lambert had headed Southampton into the lead from Jason Puncheon’s 16th minute cross. “Van Persie has come up with three important goals. He’s got four now in two starts, it’s a great statistic,” Ferguson said.

Man United’s Robin van Persie (right) scores against Southampton

“But I thought (substitute) Paul Scholes changed the game.

His vision and passing helped us get complete control.”

Elsewhere, Aston Villa earned their first point under new boss Paul Lambert with a 1-1 draw against Newcastle. Villa took the lead at St James’ Park through Ciaran Clark’s 22nd minute header.

French midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa salvaged a draw for Newcastle with a brilliant strike in the 59th minute. 

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