Comeback Kings! Fergie's table toppers have won EIGHT matches from losing positions in charge for the title
11:41 GMT, 27 December 2012
Sir Matt Busby’s attacking ethos has long been a tradition at Old Trafford, much like the rain and good music. ‘Just go out and play,’ he told his team.
But never more than during this season has that mentality been so captivatingly exhibited. Nine times Manchester United have gone behind in the Barclays Premier League. Eight times they have subsequently tasted victory.
It is a remarkable run which has earned Sir Alex Ferguson’s side 24 points from losing positions.
Perilous defending has time and again been seen and raised by United’s swashbuckling attack.
Yesterday’s 4-3 win over Newcastle was the latest example and means at halfway United, despite conceding 28 goals (more than in entire title-winning campaigns of seasons past), sit seven points clear at the top. Here, Sportsmail details all those comeback wins.
Saviour: United celebrate Hernandez's injury-time winner against Newcastle
August 25 United 3-2 Fulham
Damien Duff took advantage of slack marking to turn Bryan Ruiz’s clever free-kick past David De Gea to give Fulham a third-minute lead. But Robin van Persie showed his class on his first United start by turning Patrice Evra’s cross beyond Mark Schwarzer in brilliant fashion on the volley. Shinji Kagawa and Rafael put United in front by halftime before a Nemanja Vidic own goal led to nervy late scenes.
New boy: Summer signing Kagawa scores past Schwarzer
September 2 Southampton 2-3 United
A stunning late blitz courtesy of United’s flying Dutchman turned a loss into victory in the final three minutes. Van Persie equalised Rickie Lambert’s opener but then missed a penalty by dinking it after Morgan Schneiderlin had headed the hosts back in front. United seemed doomed but an 87th minute leveller and stoppage time winner from the 29-year-old secured a hat-trick and three points.
Late but great: Van Persie rescued United at Southampton with two late goals
September 23 Liverpool 1-2 United
An ambush at Anfield. United played dreadfully but emerged from the home of their arch rivals with a precious win. Jonjo Shelvey was harshly dismissed for a lunge on Jonny Evans in the first half but Liverpool roused and Steven Gerrard volleyed them in front. Rafael scored a delightful leveller and Van Persie made no mistake from the spot nine minutes from time after a foul on Antonio Valencia.
Van the man: Van Persie converts a penalty as United won 2-1 at Anfield
October 20 United 4-2 Stoke
Wayne Rooney scored a hat-trick (of sorts) to see off Stoke. The England striker nodded the visitors in front with an own goal on 11 minutes but quickly atoned with a header at the right end to equalise. Van Persie and Danny Welbeck eased United ahead but Michael Kightly again exposed their defensive frailties to make it 3-2. Rooney grabbed his ‘third’ goal of the game to settle flutters.
Comeback: United beat Stoke 4-2 at Old Trafford having trailed through a Rooney own-goal
November 10 Aston Villa 2-3 United
Javier Hernandez produced the alchemy at Villa Park in another gold-standard comeback display. It is the only time United have won after falling behind by two goals. Christian Benteke beasted Chris Smalling and Andreas Weimann netted a brace to send the home crowd delirious. But Little Pea, on as a substitute, turned the game, scoring twice and seeing another shot diverted in by Ron Vlaar.
Chicharito: Hernandez scored two goals at Villa Park as United recovered from 2-0 down
November 24 United 3-1 QPR
As United comebacks go, this was a rather mundane affair. In fact, there would have been a surprise if they hadn’t returned Jamie Mackie’s 52nd minute opener with interest. Harry Redknapp watched from the stands as his new side succumbed to a second-half barrage from Evans, Darren Fletcher and Hernandez. It was Fletcher’s first league start in more than a year after serious illness.
Flying Scot: Fletcher scored as United saw off Harry Redknapp's new team QPR
December 1 Reading 3-4 United
A completely mad evening at the Madejski. Hal Robson-Kanu lit the fuse of a dynamite opening half with a goal in the eighth minute. Just 26 minutes later it was 4-3 to the visitors. Anderson drilled a finish: 1-1. Rooney converted a penalty: 1-2. Adam Le Fondre nodded in: 2-2. Sean Morrison did likewise: 3-2. Rooney got his second: 3-3. Van Persie found a winner: 4-3. The players seemed shell-chocked in the second period and no further craziness followed.
Crazy: United prevailed at the Madejski in a match that saw seven first-half goals
December 26 United 4-3 Newcastle
A Boxing Day bonanza with United plucking another type of comeback from their vast repertoire, this time finding a way to win after falling behind three times. Evans became the second United player to score at both ends in a game by turning in Danny Simpson’s cross after he had equalised James Perch’s opener. Evra, Papiss Cisse and Van Persie scored before Hernandez found another last minute winner.
Little Pea: Hernandez struck an injury-time winner as United beat Newcastle 4-3 on Boxing Day
P.S. Let’s not forget the two games United have let a two goal lead slip only to win late on. It needed resilience of a different kind to strike back from losing comfortable margins at both Chelsea and City and claim all three points on each occasion. Surely vital victories in the final reckoning.