Alex Ferguson delighted with Manchester United fightback

Sir Alex Ferguson praised his Manchester United side for mastering a "championship performance" as they came from behind on three occasions to beat Newcastle 4-3 at Old Trafford on Boxing Day. The success extended their Premier League lead over Manchester City to seven points as the reigning champions lost to Sunderland on the same day.

"Never mind where we are in the table - that was a championship performance," said Ferguson. "We dropped two points at Swansea on Sunday but made up for it today. I think it's given us all a lift - some of the football we played was fantastic."

Newcastle took the lead early in the first half when James Perch tapped in a Demba Ba parried shot, then Johnny Evans made it all square before putting one past his own goalkeeper to put Newcastle ahead once again. Patrice Evra levelled the score again before Papiss Cisse restored Newcastle's lead. Then Robin van Persie, United's top scorer this season, bagged his 16th goal of the campaign and in the final minute of normal time, Javier Hernandez, who took the place of injured Wayne Rooney, slid home the winning goal.

"I wish it was the last game of the season," said Ferguson. "It tells you about the courage of our team though. We had a lot of bad decisions against us in the first half. That could have demoralised the team. But they didn't give in. That is the great quality they have. As I always say about December, it is a month that tells you everything. Hopefully when we come to 1 January, after that game at Wigan, we are still top of the league."

The result left Alan Pardew's Newcastle side five points above the relegation zone, with a trip to Arsenal next on their schedule. "It's difficult, because we've scored three goals here at Old Trafford," said Pardew. "You think when you score three, you're going to win the game. We hit the bar and the post and we scored three goals. But we conceded four. We gifted them the last goal and that's been the story for us this season. The last couple of goals were poor for us. You always learn something when you play and the players gave a good account of themselves."

Manchester United meet West Brom at Old Trafford on Saturday, here are the odds for the game from Bet365:

Man United win - 2/7
Draw - 9/2
West Brom win - 9/1

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