Manchester United manager David Moyes has reacted angrily to reports claiming Robin van Persie had asked to leave Old Trafford, saying the rumours were "nonsense".
Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson told an Irish radio station earlier in the week that he had heard from sources inside the Old Trafford club that last season's Premier League Golden Boot winner had handed in a transfer request.
Moyes was not impressed with the story and dismissed any suggestion that Van Persie was unhappy under Sir Alex Ferguson's successor and wanted out soon.
"That is absolute nonsense. I don't know what harder or tougher word I could say but that's as good as I've got," he told reporters on Saturday.
Moyes wouldn't have been in the best of moods anyway on Saturday evening, as he had just watched Manchester United suffer their second straight Premier League defeat at Old Trafford, a 1-0 victory for Newcastle United, for the first time in a decade.
Van Persie was recalled to the starting line up since recovering from a groin problem and had a goal ruled out for offside, but his uninspiring performance was matched by most of his teammates as the Premier League champions slumped to their first home loss to the Toon since 1972.