Football Expert & Columnist
Van is the man
Jamie Redknapp hails the genius of Robin van Persie after he scored a hat-trick at St Mary's stadium.
Last Updated: 02/09/12 7:36pm
Sky Sports' Jamie Redknapp hailed the genius of Robin van Persie after he scored a hat-trick at St Mary's stadium to inspire a dramatic Manchester United comeback and break Southampton hearts once again.
Van Persie scored twice in the final three minutes to snatch a victory away from Southampton, who suffered a similar fate to their opening day 3-2 defeat to champions Manchester City.
The former Arsenal striker's late heroics were all the more remarkable given he bounced back from the disappointment of a poor penalty attempt. He had earlier smashed home a terrific left-foot volley.
Redknapp told Sky Sports: "You have to admire the genius of Van Perise. It shows you how mentally strong he is: after missing that penalty to go and score the two goals.
"He knew what he had to do, he took the game by the scruff of the neck and that is what you get when you buy special footballers. They decide matches."
Van Persie's hat-trick ensured victory for Sir Alex Ferguson in his 1,000th league match in charge of Manchester United and Redknapp said their comeback was indicative of the spirit that Ferguson inspires at United.
"Manchester United know how to win games. They never give up," he said. "He (Ferguson) win games, he knows what to do. He makes the right substitutions. Scholes came on and started to wrestle a grip on the midfield."
Fellow Sky Sports pundit, and former Saint, Matt Le Tissier added of Van Persie: "He is a different class.
"The guy has been playing so well for such a long period of time that his confidence is so high he actually felt that he could take the mickey out of the goalkeeper with the penalty. His confidence was that high, which is what I think it was."
Southampton led twice through Rickie Lambert and then Morgan Schneiderlin, and Le Tissier was gutted with their late capitulation.
"For long periods of the game they matched United. I thought the work-rate was outstanding and the counter-attacking they were doing really looked dangerous every time they came forward, especially in that second half," he said.
"This might be a lesson to be learnt for Nigel Adkins where, with just the one-goal advantage, I am not sure you need to take off all your three best goal-threats. Because when you are playing a team as good as Manchester United, you know at some point they might nick a goal and you need another one to win the game.
"That was the only disappointment for me; he took off his three best players."
Redknapp added: "Southampton put every drip of sweat into that game and it hurts so much when you have lost. That is two games now when they have been 2-0 up against the champions and the team that came second.
"They have proved they can match teams. But they have got to find a way to just hang in there."