Manchester: David Moyes believes he has seen a glimpse of the old Manchester United after a dramatic late comeback secured a 3-2 win against Stoke.
United boss Moyes was in danger of suffering another dispiriting defeat in an already troubled start to his reign when Stoke took a shock 2-1 lead at half-time at Old Trafford on Saturday.
But United claimed a 78th minute equaliser from Wayne Rooney before substitute Javier Hernandez, whom Stoke manager Mark Hughes claimed should have been sent off before his heroics, won the match two minutes later in a manner that recalled so many famous victories under Moyes` predecessor Alex Ferguson.
"I thought in the end we had to go for it," said Moyes, who made three attacking substitutions in a bid to win the contest.
"I thought we did a lot of good things but an awful lot of real poor things that put us in the situation we were in.”
"Some of the play we had was very good but it wasn`t leading to any goals.”
"I thought inside the ground with 15-20 minutes to go, the supporters were terrific, they drove the team on and played a big part in getting the result.”
"Of course they were a little disappointed. They wanted to see their team win, maybe more convincingly, but they`ve had a lot of games like that here in the past.”
"It was very good, very exciting. I really enjoyed it and the three centre forwards we had on the pitch all scored a goal today and that was pleasing."
After a sub-par start to the campaign had seen United go into the game 11 points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal, defeat would have been unthinkable for the defending champions, especially coming on the back of a home defeat at the hands of West Brom and poor home draw with Southampton.
Now Moyes hopes this hard-fought victory can transform the campaign.
"It can do," he said. "But we will go about it quietly."
Stoke stunned United when Peter Crouch handed them an early lead which was cancelled out just before the interval by Robin van Persie.
A free-kick from Marko Arnautovic, with practically the last kick of the first half, restored a Stoke advantage that lasted until the closing stages.
Even allowing for the defeat, the manner of the performance and the difficulty Moyes` men had in winning the game, left former United star Hughes believing Old Trafford is not the impenetrable fortress it once was.
"I think we were encouraged by what other teams have done here - West Brom, Southampton," he said.
"I felt we had the capabilities to do a similar performance if we committed to it and that`s what we worked on this week, getting at them and causing problems. For the most part, thats exactly what we did."
However, the Stoke manager does believe that one facet of life at Old Trafford remains constant - the pressure that is applied to match officials by the packed stadium.
Hughes was insistent that Hernandez should have been shown a red, instead of yellow, card by referee Lee Mason after leaving in a trailing leg on a late challenge on Stoke defender Robert Huth
"It was a poor challenge on Robert Huth, reckless in my view," he said. "Why the assistant referee didn`t see fit to do something about it, I don`t know.
"It was a reckless challenge. I think the lad himself will agree with that. You can`t use your leg like that, its dangerous.
"I`m a little bit disappointed with that decision from the referee.
"I think referees and assistant referees see what they see and make decisions accordingly.
"It`s very difficult to go against a 70,000 crowd here. It has a big influence on people but at times you`ve got to be strong as a referee as well. But there you go."