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Ronaldo relief over late winner

Ronaldo had seen his first-half strike equalised by Tim Cahill and it seemed United would have to settle for a draw as Everton held their own.

sports Updated: Dec 23, 2007 23:10 IST

Two-goal Cristiano Ronaldo admitted his relief after his late penalty sealed Manchester United's 2-1 win over Everton and moved the champions back to within a point of Premier League leaders Cristiano Ronaldo on Sunday.

Ronaldo had seen his first-half strike equalised by Tim Cahill and it seemed United would have to settle for a draw as Everton held their own.

But when Steven Pienaar brought Ryan Giggs down with three minutes left, Ronaldo converted his 16th goal of the season to ensure United made the perfect start to the hectic end of year programme of matches.

"I think the team played very well," Ronaldo said.

"In the first half it was not too good but in the second half I think we played better, created more chances and I think we deserved to win.

"It's important, we've got many games coming up now and it's important always to win. At home you need to win.

"With the next games, there is not too much time to rest, so it was important to win to stay near the top."

Ronaldo said: "I'm very happy with Christmas coming up. I think Father Christmas gave me my present early!

"The most important thing is the team. The game was very tough, Everton played very well and created a few bad things for us. I think the lads played very well."

Everton boss David Moyes was not too scathing about Pienaar's crucial contribution in conceding the spot kick.

"I thought it was a penalty. It was just a moment of madness for Steven," he said.

"He's been excellent today and excellent since he's come. It was one of those things, the players worked really hard to get something out of the game.

"I thought we played well. I was really pleased to come here and put on a good performance.

"You're not going to come here and have an easy ride. I thought we were determined not to lose the game, I thought for most of the game we were well in it and I even thought we could maybe have scored ourselves."