LONDON: Ruud van Nistelrooy has thanked his Manchester United team mates for helping him recover from his penalty miss against Arsenal at Old Trafford.
The Dutch striker bounced back from the injury-time miss in the goalless draw on Sept 21 to score his fifth Premier League hat-trick in United’s 4-1 win at Leicester City on Saturday.
“The players reacted so fantastically after Arsenal, after the penalty miss,” Van Nistelrooy told MUTV. “I was so disappointed in the dressing room. Of course everyone was, but me especially. They were brilliant and helped me to get over it and move on, which I did, and it was great to see as a team that we were so good (at Leicester).”
The Old Trafford match ended in a brawl, which led to the Football Association charging six Arsenal and two United players with misconduct.
Van Nistelrooy said the spirit in the United dressing room helped the players cope with the constant attention on the English champions.
“It’s not only last week, it’s been there all the time. As a United player you are always in the spotlight. As a team we are as well, but we are all there for each other and we all try to help each other. We can trust each other, that’s the most important thing, and you can see that.”
Van Nistelrooy has missed three spot-kicks this season – against Bolton Wanderers in the league as well as another against Arsenal in the Community Shield – but remains joint top scorer in the Premier League with seven goals and will continue to take United’s penalties.
United now turn their attention back to the Champions League with Van Nistelrooy looking for a second Group E win in Stuttgart today to further hopes of repeating their 1999 tournament success.
“It’s a great competition. We’ve been to the semi-final two years ago and then to the quarter-final last year and we are very motivated and very focused on this year’s Champions League because we all want to do well because it’s a big stage,” he said. – Reuters