Van der Sar beats Cech's clean sheet record

Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar set a new English top-flight record for clean sheets when the champions crushed West Bromwich Albion 5-0 at the Hawthorns on Tuesday.

The Dutchman has gone 1,032 minutes without having to pick the ball out of his net in the Premier League, beating the previous record of 1,025 set by Chelsea's Petr Cech in 2004-05.

"The most important thing is the win, but of course it is great for the team to get the record. I just needed to keep the concentration levels high and fire up the defenders and midfielders," Van der Sar told BBC Radio Five Live.

"When I saw 85 minutes on the clock I was happy but the most important thing was that we got the three points."

In keeping an 11th consecutive league clean sheet, the 38-year-old Van der Sar also helped United set a new top-flight record, edging past the 10 in a row racked up by Chelsea in the same season.

The last time United's defence was breached in the league was in the 48th minute of their 2-1 defeat by Arsenal when Samir Nasri scored and manager Alex Ferguson paid tribute to his injury-hit back line.

"I am proud of them. They have been fantastic in this run," Ferguson said. "Edwin van der Sar has had a fantastic career, but he was really pleased to get this record. You look at him and what happened has really thrilled him."

Van der Sar celebrated with a raised fist at the end but his hopes of edging past Cech were nearly ended early in the second half when West Brom's Ryan Donk struck the woodwork.

United's miserly defensive record is all the more impressive considering they have been without the likes of England's Rio Ferdinand and Frenchman Patrice Evra in recent weeks.

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