Van Persie: “I’m feeling really good physically”

by Richard Laverty

Manchester United striker Robin van Persie is feeling much fitter and healthier than he was at the start of the season and accepts some of his performances have been below par.

The striker struggled for form in the early months of the season and it appeared he would be dropped from the team after even his manager criticised his form but three goals in three games has seen Van Persie look a much more confident striker.

Speaking to MUTV ahead of Sunday’s match against Liverpool, the 31-year-old said: I think everything starts with how you feel physically because when you’re feeling fit and healthy then you can do more.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been feeling very well physically,” he told MUTV.

Van Persie went right to end of the 2014 World Cup as Louis van Gaal guided Netherlands to the semi-finals in Brazil but it meant the striker wasn’t ready to take part in United’s pre-season tour or the opening game of the season.

The Dutchman returned against Sunderland in the second match of the season and accepts so many major tournaments in recent years may have taken its toll on him.

“I feel like I can make more runs and keep things going up until the last bit of the game. I feel good and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the goals are flowing in much better now. It was a hard start to this season.

“I don’t know what is to blame for that. It’s hard to maybe pick things up straight away after the World Cup. I have played five tournaments in total over the last few years – three European Championships and two World Cups and based on the moments after those tournaments the first period was always tougher even though I felt fine and fit. Somehow it can be tough to really get back to your best form.”

It appeared van Persie would be dropped for the home game against Hull City but an illness picked up by James Wilson gave the experienced striker a reprieve. Three games and three goals later, van Persie is looking more confident than ever ahead of the game against Liverpool.

“It felt great [to score twice at Southampton], not only because of the goals but I was actually quite happy with how I was playing and how I was holding the ball up for my team-mates. That’s where it starts – you have to be important for your team by holding the ball up, being strong in duels, make runs for your team-mates, not just for yourself, and all those things were going right.”

Gary Neville picked up on van Persie’s runs not being picked out by his team mates after the defeat at Manchester City but despite his opening goal against Southampton coming from a poor pass-back by Jose Fonte, van Persie doesn’t accept his goals were ‘lucky’.

“I don’t think it was luck with the two goals I scored. With the first one, I got the ball from a back-pass. It’s about making your own luck – I made that run and got into that position and the ball went through the goalkeeper’s legs and I got lucky because there was just enough pace on it to go in. When you’re doing all the things you have to do and you’re making your runs and you’re strong then you create your own luck. That was the case with the second goal too. I have been making that run [to the back post] for the past few months [laughs] and giving everything for it, but the ball never came that well. This was the first time that the ball came exactly where I wanted it to. If you keep doing that then the ball will come and you will make your own luck.”

Credit: Republik of Mancunia for the interview transcription

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