Manchester United forward Robin Van Persie has claimed that respect for his former side prevented him celebrating his goal during yesterday’s 2-1 victory over Arsenal at Old Trafford.

The Holland ace opened the scoring after just three minute when a mistake by Thomas Vermaelen gave him the chance to slot the ball past Vito Mannone in the Arsenal goal which he did so with aplomb. A fabulous Rooney cross was headed in by Evra to ensure all three points for United.

The victory meant Sir Alex Ferguson’s side ended the day on top of the league and Van Persie described scoring against his former employers as a ‘special day.’

“In the end it was about the game and I think we played well,” he told the Daily Mail.

“We were a bit sloppy with the chances we did not take, we should have scored more but we got three points.

Van Persie lifted his arms aloft in acknowledgement of his eighth league goal of the season, but refused to celebrate against his former club.

“I played there for eight years, I had a fantastic time there and I respect the fans, manager, players and the whole club so that is why I didn’t celebrate,” he added.

The striker was given hostile reception by the away supporters but the Dutchman maintained that he day had gone as planned.

“I honestly did not hear any abuse,’ he insisted. ‘I respect the fans. It was a special day for me. It is the first time ever I have played against my former club, but in the end it is about the game and we won it, I am pleased with that.”

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