Louis van Gaal has admitted that star striker Robin van Persie is under pressure to perform for the club, after his woeful showing against former side Arsenal last weekend, according to Goal.
Van Persie woes
The Dutchman cut an incredibly frustrated figure as he was isolated up top, and was subbed during the second half for youngster James Wilson. Despite having forged a healthy relationship with Van Gaal from the pairs’ time working for the Netherlands national side - so healthy in fact that it was assumed Van Persie would be given captaincy - it’s believed the new United boss could be preparing to sell the 31-year-old forward.
In any case his latest comments have done little to allay fears that Van Persie is struggling to cope with the rigours of Old Trafford life this year, as Van Gaal confirmed that the player is suffering from what he perceives to be a lack of confidence.
Van Gaal comments
“I also had a striker, an international striker, Mario Gomez who touched the ball nine times in matches at Bayern Munich in my time,” he told reporters.
“But I do think 13 is too few for a striker. You can count his touches of the ball but more important is how he is playing and it was a very bad game from him and that is why I changed him.
Article continues below
“When I change a player it is not because he is the best player on the pitch, or I would be doing something wrong.
“I believe in the players so when I change players it is normally because they are doing something not good in their performance.
“It’s a question also of confidence, maybe a question of scoring a wonderful goal at the right moment. You know how strikers are. They have to score goals. They feel like that, it’s not that I’m asking that. I have said to them you have to be at an attacking point, you have to help our team come and search for space.
"It’s a question also of confidence, maybe a question of scoring a wonderful goal at the right moment. You know how strikers are. They have to score goals"
What doesn’t help Van Persie is the thought that he’ll soon have Radamel Falcao to contend with once the Colombia star completes his return from injury. At the moment only the aforesaid Wilson is vying for the ex-Arsenal skipper’s position in the side, and more often than not he will get the jump on reputation alone.
However the form guide can’t be ignored for much longer and unless Van Persie, who takes home an incredible £250,000-a-week, can recapture the sort of form which saw him lead Sir Alex Ferguson’s side to the Premier League title in his maiden season with the club, Van Gaal will be forced to act.
It remains unlikely that he is going to be included in any knee-jerk fire-sale United might hold at the start of the New Year, but many more showings like the one against Arsenal and Van Persie could find that he’s starting games from the bench.