Manchester United striker Robin van Persie has declared that harnessing the full potential of a strike partnership with Wayne Rooney is vital to hopes of a swift upturn in form, as the pair gear up to reunite against Shakhtar Donetsk tomorrow night.

Van Persie returned from injury against Newcastle United on Tuesday with Wayne Rooney suspended, but drew a blank alongside Javier Hernandez as the Red Devils slipped to a 1-0 defeat against Newcastle United.

Rooney is set to return against Shakhtar as United look for the win which will guarantee top spot in their Champions League group, although Van Persie's inclusion from the start remains doubtful after he unexpectedly played the full 90 minutes against Newcastle.

The Dutch striker has admitted that both him and Rooney have realised their relationship in attack is more important then ever, as United look to halt an alarming slide down the Premier League table.

He told ITV Sport: "It's the interaction together, it's that we both want to play together. We realise that we are better off playing together because we are stronger as a partnership.

"With a player of Wayne's calibre we can go from strength to strength and become even better than we are now.

"Lately we've been playing really well together, we've been setting up goals for each other, we are both scoring, which is what I want. It is important that this partnership is growing and becoming even stronger."

Rooney's strong form in recent months has been a rare bright spot for United this season, with the England striker scoring 12 times for club and country.

Van Persie's predatory instincts also looked as sharp as ever before injury halted a strong start to the campaign, which yielded seven goals in 11 Premier League games.

The challenge now for boss David Moyes is to provide the pair of proven predators with a consistent supply line in the final third, with the first chance to do just that in the Premier League coming on Sunday away at Aston Villa.

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