Football: I feared Van Persie red card, admits Moyes

Manchester United manager David Moyes said that he had substituted Robin van Persie for his own good during the Premier League champions' 3-0 win at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday. Van Persie teed up the opening goal for Phil Jones at The Hawthorns, but his afternoon was brought to a premature end in the 63rd minute after he had narrowly avoided being sent off. Having been booked for a dangerous challenge on Morgan Amalfitano, the Dutch striker launched himself into a sliding challenge that upended Steven Reid moments later, but referee Jonathan Moss elected not to show him a second yellow card. Moyes was unwilling to take a risk, however, and he promptly replaced Van Persie with Danny Welbeck, who went on to score United's third goal after Wayne Rooney had made it 2-0 with a 65th-minute header. Asked if he had been concerned about Van Persie getting sent off, Moyes told BT Sport: "I was, but I didn't think the second tackle was a booking. I thought it was a foul. And we were always taking Robin off anyway. "He played 90 minutes for Holland in mid-week and we'd got ourselves in front, so it made it an easy decision to make. I just felt I couldn't take a chance in case Robin slipped or anything else which might have made the crowd get up against the referee. "Overall, Robin played really well today, and so did Wayne. I was pleased with them." United were making their first appearance since a shock 2-0 loss to Olympiakos in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie and Rooney said it was important that the team had reacted with a win. "We were hurt after losing to Olympiakos and we wanted to come and show everyone we're a good team," said the England striker. "We'll fight for our shirt and for our place in the team. "We played with great energy and we always looked a threat. The goals were well deserved and there maybe could have been more. We were not able to get forward sometimes in the first half and we had to fight through that. "But we got the goal thankfully from Phil Jones and went in at half-time and knew we had to finish the game off. So to get the second was great and I think we saw the game off then quite well." The victory took United into sixth place in the table, but they face a challenging run of fixtures, with league games against Liverpool and Manchester City awaiting either side of the return leg against Olympiakos. "Good games, tough games, and we're looking forward to them," Moyes said. "The teams we're playing are all good sides and we'll try and show that we're a good side when we play them."

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