Manchester 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.