RvP spreads the love

imageManchester United striker Robin van Persie says club’s coach is winning points for team with his training sessions

Robin van Persie has credited Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen with putting the club on course for the Premier League title by ‘winning points for us through his training.’

Sir Alex Ferguson’s team moved nine points clear of closest challengers Manchester City at the weekend, with the champions drawing at home to Liverpool 24 hours after United’s 1-0 victory at Fulham.

With Van Persie scoring eighteen goals in 22 league games since his summer transfer from Arsenal, the £22 million forward has been cited as the key factor in United’s title pursuit. But the 29-year-old claims that the attention to detail of fellow Dutchman Meulensteen has been crucial to United’s progress so far this season.

“The way he (Meulensteen) trains is an exceptional,” Van Persie said.“He is truly one of the best coaches in the world. I have had a lot of good trainers, but it’s the way he prepares our team for games. Every match is different, so every training session in the build-up to games is unique.

“We know exactly what to expect and he wins points for us through his training. We’ve won a lot of games by the odd goal and they are point winners, which we train for. For instance, against Chelsea I scored after a low cross from Antonio Valencia on the right. It might seem a fluke, but the whole week before the game was spent working on that move.

“Another example is my goal against Wigan, when I cut the ball inside and shot with my right foot. Again this situation, we trained on.

“Training is really good. It’s a very pleasant environment to work in.” Speaking to the Dutch television station NOS, Van Persie claims that he has become a better player since leaving the Emirates for Old Trafford.

“Every day I work on new things,” Van Persie said. “I become alert to small details that make me better. I go into work every day whistling. From the first day, they have made me feel welcome, the boys made me feel right at home.

“I feel better and fitter. In the last week, I played Wednesday and Saturday. In those games I played with ease.” Van Persie, due to play for Holland against Italy in Amsterdam on Wednesday night, has described next week’s Champions League clash against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu as the ‘icing of the cake’ of his season so far at United.

Real could be boosted by the return of Portuguese defender Pepe for the last 16 first-leg tie, with the centre-half returning to training last Friday following ankle surgery last month.

Pepe has been told he must prove his fitness in time for this weekend’s clash with Sevilla in order to be considered for the United game.



  1. What can I say. United is just awesome.

    I hope Rene stays on after Ferguson steps down.

    Its so amazing to think that a low cross from Valencia that leads to a goal was pre-meditated. Thats awesome to know the different weaknesses of each team’s defence.

    Meulensteen is very valuable if he is that good to be able to train in such a way as too score against certain teams. Wow!

    I am so happy for van Persie. I’m glad he is enjoying his football.

    I get the sense that this whole experience makes him feel like a boy in a candy shop. We’re leading the league by 9 points. We’re playing the cream of Europe (Real Madrid) and Robin is just loving every moment of it.

    If we win the league this year I will be most happy for Robin. He left Arsenal because they were not prepared to put on a title challenge and he didn’t want his massive talents to languish away in an ambitionless club.

    He came to United and chose the number 20 on his back because thats his goal here. To win the 20th title. I love Robin van Persie’s winning spirit. He is a champion on the inside. Hopefully by the end of the season he will be a champion on the outside too.

    And if we win then hopefully Robin can get the no 9 Jersey.

  2. Van Persie, Rooney, Valencia, Nani, Welbeck, Kagawa, Evra and Evans were all involved in midweek internationals.

    That kind of puts an interesting twist on the team selection this Sunday against Everton.

    Nani needed a game and got an assist. Thats good for his confidence.

    Valencia got a goal which should also give him a boost.

    Shinji Kagawa got his cogs turning again with two good assist so hopefully he’ll be on his way to finding some form.

    Rooney was great against Brazil. Him and van Persie are going to be critical to our final title push.

    The international break was good for our players to keep gaining experience. I just hope they can handle the two games in quick succession well.

    Everton is our main focus right now. Lets hope Meulensteen is coaching the lads on how to break Everton down. They are due a hiding I think.

  3. If we were somehow able to signe Jack Wilshere in the summer would we need anyone else in central midfield?

    • @The_Philosopher: Wilshere would be the perfect midfield partner for Carrick. We’d still need that physically imposing midfielder for the really big games, but our midfield problems would be largely solved. I would start a bid at £40 million for Wilshere to destabilise the player and Arsenal, then rise to a maximum bid of £50 million. He will become one of the greatest midfielders in the world, and we haven’t had one of those since Scholesy.

      • @Moscow: Besides dribbling skills and Rooney-esque hustling ability, I don’t see Wilshere as any better than / different from Cleverley. The Opta article supports my claims. 50 million for Wilshere is insane… 15-25 (depending on injury-proneness rebates) is more suitable.


        Summary: Cleverley is better defensively, Wilshere more creative, but rarely takes a shot. I think Cleverley stats are lying a bit here, as he is not the Main Man at United, whereas Wilshere is at Arsenal, so there is greater footballing responsibilities placed on Wilshere’s shoulders, which swells Wilshere’s stats and shrinks Cleverley’s.

  4. Wiltshere is the best English midfielder since Scholes. He in fact is a highbred of the Ginger Prince and Gazza. He would be the perfect partner for Carrick, but he will not leave Le Arse, certainly not in the short term. He is a true World Class player, he needs to stay fit and score more goals, but he is will be a better player than Fabregas.

    • @Stephen: Really? I need to watch more Wilshere then because I have never been impressed with him. Yes, he is good and in the same leagues as Cleverley, Anderson, Cabaye, etc… but I have never been convinced that he is anywhere near nor has the potential to become as great as Scholes or Gazza. What stats do you have to suggest he is such a player? Is injury the only thing holding him back in your opinion? I don’t see it… but I can be convinced.

      • @Opti: Cabaye and Wilshere are in a different league to Anderson and Cleverley mate. I’ve seen Wilshere do the business against Xavi and Iniesta, whereas Cleverley is yet to convince even in this poor United midfield. As for Anderson, I make it 6 seasons of failure thus far.

        • @Moscow: But if he can do business against Barca, why are Arsenal then struggling in league, even last year with RvP?

  5. David Beckham says he’s “inspired by Giggs and Scholes”, and well he should.
    Seemingly aptly timed to his latest media orgy at PSG, the revelation seems more about the moment and less about kind words offered to his ex-mates at United.
    Giggs and Scholes, might we remember, did stay at OT and were subject to the rigors of United’s training regime and through thick and thin, and the years of disappointment and the Manchester weather and, of course, the years of true glory in a league that suffers no fools nor no cry-babies, and they did not follow they’re fashionista wives to Madrid, Los Angeles and now Paris.
    If they can do it, so can I. Really, David. Lets see some of that, mate and less of that smarmy-in-front-of-the-camera-say-what-everyone-wants-to-hear bullshit.

  6. Opti: You said “But if he can do business against Barca, why are Arsenal then struggling in league, even last year with RvP?”

    Do you really believe that one player alone can make that difference?
    And your comparison between his performance against Barca and Arsenals lack of success is juvenile and naive. Do you really believe that because Wilshire performed well against Barca he can do the same against, say, Stoke?
    Please, mate, don’t be a sap, the game is much more intriguing than a formula based on statistics!

    • @Redrich: Of course it was a cheeky attempt. But I cannot be convinced of Wilshere’s greatness if I don’t see that he stands out in some statistical category… and running a lot is not enough.

      Why is Scholes great? Pin-point passing accuracy + goals scores (in his prime) — easy stats
      Why is Cantona great? Captain of United, important goals, trophies
      Why is Giggs great? Longevity, assists, goals, crosses
      Why is Schmeichel/EVDS greats? Clean sheet records, amazing one-on-one saves, trophies
      Why is Messi great? Ronaldo? Etc…
      Why is Rooney/RvP/Vidic/Rio/etc… great? Importants stats favor them: goals, assists, tackles, etc.

      All great players have stats that support their greatness. Where are Wilshere’s or Walcots? Don’t call Wilshere great and place him in league with Scholes and Gazza if you ain’t got numbers to back you up. 😉

      • @Opti: Look, Soccernomics and its play on numbers has and will have a huge affect on how and why teams will rate players. No doubt, but the simple truth is that you still need industry professionals to interpret those numbers and make a team out of individuals. “Team” is the key word and the blending of talents is the most cherished of all skills to make up that club.
        In your example of Wilshire against Cleverly, there can be no example other than what he offers to the team. Would Wilshire be better for United than Cleverly, and visa verca. The numbers you crunch has no relevance to their value other than what that means to their team.
        You must have seen that good players that go to other teams do phenomenally worse or in some cases better. They haven’t, all of a sudden, had an inspirational meltdown or a creative epiphany, but rather the change in playing chemistry has altered their comfort zone somewhat.
        There is much more to a players value than his Opta scorecard, and especially for those that have very little laid down on the table.

  7. When George Best got his new liver there was only one way he would survive afterward – STOP DRINKING AND LISTEN TO YOUR DOCTORS!!
    Well Georgie did his own thing and the rest is a chronicle of history that most of us don’t like to talk about.
    Maybe George was a stubborn character and no matter what, he couldn’t turn away from what was always going to kill him – maybe. But was there not a single sole that could have spent the effort to save him? His ex-Mates, the United alum, the players union?
    I raise this question because Gazza is now at that same crossroads. His life seems to be teetering in the balance between a downward spiral and a revival back to normality. His mental capacity to overcome is not strong enough and he needs help, lots of help to get there. The facility in Arizona will help but his peer group back in England is what will keep him on a true course.
    After reading Marina Hyde’s great commentary in the Guardian, I felt inspired to add a subsequent note that can illustrate the need for pervasive help in situations like this.
    Everyone doesn’t want to see another “George Best” but the Footballing community also doesn’t want to take on this problem.

  8. The Everton game is looming large now.

    A win would be massive. Its 13 games left and a 9 point lead right now.

    A win against Everton means City have one less game to deal with a 9 point gap.

    Each game is worth 9 points now. 3 points means 9 points.

  9. The prospect of having Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson do battle over two-legs of football is mouth watering to say the least.

    And when one considers the sheer magnitude of the clubs in question, their pedigree and standing in world football this champions league dual is certainly one of epic proportions.

    The two lists of gladiators at their disposal are phenominal. And although one might feel that Real Madrid have the upper hand in terms of the quality of their squad, United under Sir Alex Ferguson are a formidable force indeed.

    The sharp wit and fighting spirit of footballs two greatest managers are to be pitted one against the other in a mammoth battle of wills. Who will come out on top?

    Sir Alex Ferguson has achieved everything there is to achieve in football and then some. Jose Mourinho is safely on course to do likewise.

    Both men are hell-bent on winning and can instill their teams with the desire and passion and indomitable will to overcome any and all obstacles.

    This clash of the titans will certainly serve up drama and insights into who is the better man.

    United sit pretty in their domestic league while the champion’s league represents Real’s only chance of major honours this campaign.

    Will this be Jose Mourinho’s audition for the United job when Ferguson steps down? Or will Sir Alex entrench himself even further as football’s greatest manager with yet another win against all odds?

  10. Opti, I don’t needs stats when I hav eyes, Cleverley and Anderson are not fit the lace Wilshere’s boots.
    Also, he was injured all of last season.

  11. With 13 games to go and 9 points ahead there is very little chance that United can lose the lead now.
    Looking forward there is only 2 fixtures that we could lose points, and that’s the derby game and probably Sunday’s game with the Toffees.
    So there you have it, Faithful Disciples, and you’ve heard it first from your Uncle Red, United have it in the bag and unless SAF suffers a fatal heart attack, and/or Rooney and RVP suffer ACL injuries, I would stick out my longest protrusion on a limb and say that a win in the derby game will end it for all comers.

    How sweet it is. 😆 😆

  12. So what is more important to you. The games against Everton and Reading (in the Cup) or the big showdown with Madrid in the CL?
    Do we want to want throw it all at a CL run and jeopardize our chances at a reachable double. Or do we get, somewhat, realistic and come to terms with the idea that a CL title is beyond this squad and perhaps, with the lesser quality of English competition, the “afters” offers a strong possibility of a League and Cup double?
    Tough question – wonder how the United hierarchy are mulling it?

    • Agree Steve, good question. For me it’s the league game. We owe Everton one for last season, we need the title back and we need to capitalise on City slipping up at Soton tonight 🙂

    • @Redrich: Madrid, Everton, Reading. In that order 🙂

      9 pt lead, so we can afford to draw with Everton, field an understrength team and/or rest starters and/or sub stars in/out late/early.

      Beating Madrid would lay down the marker in Europe. This is equivalent to a Champions League final, I feel. Beat Madrid and we can compete against Barca, PSG, Bayern, so why not give it a go?

      Everton can be beaten (on a good day) with our cup team, so let’s enjoy our 9 pt lead and focus on bigger fish: Madrid.

      • @Opti: For me the league is massive this season. Beating Madrid would be superb, but winning the league after the way we lost it last, would be immense.

        • @Stephen: I agree wholeheartedly, but winning league is all that matters, no winning it by N pts.

          9 pt lead in League is like a currency and choosing NOT to spend it against Madrid is silly to me… econ101 😀

  13. That is a good question Rich, the league game and the Champions league game are for me BOTH more important than Reading in the FA cup.
    If we win the league this season it will the true character of the side. Loosing the league in the manor which we did, could either make or break certain sides. We have never moaned and groaned about last season, I remember when Chelsea lost to us on penalties they claimed be be vice champions! Last season has never really been mentioned, it was almost like it never happened. Fergie went out and bought the best, the signing of RvP was reminiscent of Cantona, we bought the Frenchman and it seemed to galvanise the club. He offered something unpredictable, we were a good side before hand but RvP has given that difference.
    I despise Real with a passion, my feelings towards Mourinho have been quite vocal and if we win he may well be sacked. They way they dealt with the Ronaldo transfer was despicable and beating them would be sweet. Everton is a massive game, they seem to treat us as a Cup Final. They get lots of credit, but fundamentally they are a long ball team, which we have not coped well with in the past. Vida and Rio must play for me, although the much maligned Evans has been terrific and doesn’t get the credit he deserves. If we loose to Reading then so be it, but the next two games are vital.

      • @Ian: Hate to crush your good feeling, but letting in goals at the rate we have all season will be more decisive mate.
        I’m in for all games at this point, and don’t have a particular reason why, just a hunch that this is not the “full monty”.
        Hope I’m wrong.

  14. Ian , agreed, City I think have acored 17 less goals than this stage last season. I think this has been the difference, RvP was the signing of the summer. Fergie said that loosing the league on goal difference would never happen again and he has been proven correct.
    We have taken a lot of stick with a defensive errors this season, but City for me have also been poor, but we score more goals 😆
    Rob, Robin, Van Persie! :mrgreen:

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