Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was full of praise for his players following the 1-0 win at Everton in Saturday's lunchtime kick-off.

Just six days after the Red Devils were hit for six by local rivals and Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester City, the Scot's side produced a fine defensive display to keep the Toffees at bay.

Leighton Baines' first-half free kick, which struck the crossbar, was the closest the hosts came at Goodison Park, and Javier Hernandez's strike in the 19th minute proved to be the difference between the two sides.

"It was a hard game. We expect a hard game every time we come to Everton, in fairness. The crowd get behind them and they show great enthusiasm," Ferguson told MUTV post-match.

"In the first half in particular we played very, very well. Second half we defended well and that was the pleasing aspect for me. Winning 1-0 - I'll take half a dozen of those anytime because that's championship form when you get those kind of results.

"We had probably the best chances in the game. All their attempts were crosses and we managed to get most of them away. Really David [De Gea] has not had anything to do in terms of saves.

"They were unlucky when they hit the bar, it was a fantastic free-kick, so we rode our luck on that one. I thought we just battled in the second half and got the result we wanted."

Ferguson also reserved some special praise for Hernandez, with the Mexican's close-range effort typical of his time with the club.

"The goal was an absolutely brilliant goal and Chicharito does what he does best and got us the goal that won the match."

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