Alex Ferguson passes on dad’s advice to Van Persie
The Netherlands striker has now gone nine games without scoring, and has managed just one in his past 12 appearances for the Old Trafford outfit.
It is Van Persie’s longest dry spell since he arrived in England from Feyenoord in 2004 and represents a marked contrast from the free-scoring form he showed immediately after his summer move from Arsenal, which led to him being tipped for player of the year accolades.
Not even finding the net for his country recently has triggered an upturn in his club fortunes, with the effort he hoped to be awarded at Sunderland last weekend being credited as a Titus Bramble own goal.
With Wayne Rooney set to return from a groin strain, it seemed the time might be right for Van Persie to be given a brief rest. However, speaking ahead of Monday’s Manchester derby at Old Trafford, Ferguson has confirmed that will not happen. “Robin doesn’t need a rest, that’s for sure,” the Scot said. “He’s a strong lad with a great physique. It’s disappointing he wasn’t awarded the goal at Sunderland – I can understand that because it took a wicked deflection.
“But the shot was fantastic – hit with such venom, it’s not surprising it took a deflection. His ability to manoeuvre his position at that point was excellent.”
In previous years, Ferguson has found himself answering questions about Rooney’s lack of goals, before the Merseysider exploded again. As a former striker himself, the Scot is uniquely placed to offer advice in times of such strife. And, while he retains a firm belief Van Persie will turn his present situation around, he always remembers the wise words his dad came out with.
“My dad always used to say ‘make sure you batter the ball – don’t tap it or try and side-foot it into the net’,” Ferguson said.
“That’s what I always tell strikers too. If the goalkeeper saves it, you can say ‘what a great save’. But if you try to side-foot it and the keeper catches it easily you get criticised. The goals will come. All strikers have little dry spells. You have to not lose your faith and belief in yourself.”