Van Persie: I can still improve
Robin van Persie has been banging in the goals at the top level for a decade – but he still feels there’s room for improvement in his game.
After eight prolific seasons at Arsenal, the Dutchman has quickly settled into life at United, scoring 13 goals in 19 games and looking at home in the red shirt.
But in a revealing interview with MUTV, the striker admitted he’s still not satisfied and warned there’s more to come from him this season.
His perfectionism even extended to taking his share of the blame for the goal that was wrongly disallowed at Reading last weekend after his shot crossed the line.
“I am happy with the way I’ve started, but on the other hand, I should have scored four or five more, so that’s something for me to work on,” the 29-year-old said.
“At Reading I could have taken a small touch and put it in instead of shooting. So I’m always thinking like that: how could I have done better?
“I try to improve however I can, on and off the field, by doing little things in the gym, extra work after training, practising headers, crossing and finishing.
“I’m not satisfied yet. If you look at the stats, they’re OK. But I want more goals, more assists, more wins; I want to go for everything possible this year.”
Players often talk about the familial spirit at United and van Persie is no different, crediting the club’s welcoming atmosphere and the staff for his positive start on the field.
“I have to thank my team-mates, the manager and coaches,” he said. “Rene Meulensteen and Mike Phelan are doing a fantastic job, then you have the manager with his speeches, which get us ready for the games. It’s just different class and I love it.
“Since day one everyone has been very helpful and happy to have me here. When you feel wanted by everyone, it gives you wings.
“I come to work with a big smile on my face and I believe that when you’re having a good time, things go your way, which is happening now.”
So much has been said about Sir Alex Ferguson in recent weeks in the build-up to his statue unveiling at Old Trafford. But it’s interesting to hear a new perspective on the boss from a player who is experiencing his managerial style relatively late in his career.
“The things he says have a big influence on the players, especially me, because they’re spot-on – he says the right things at the right moments,” van Persie revealed.
“He tells you how it is – it’s a bit Dutch as we like to be straight and honest too! If it’s good, he will say so; if it’s not good enough, he will tell you so you know you have to improve.
“One of the big strengths of this club is the attitude of the players and coaches. It’s just as important as what you have quality-wise.
“In the end it’s about winning and everyone here gives that message all the time. The game of football is about winning, no matter how – that’s why we’re playing.”