Robin Van Persie believes Manchester United are on the right track under Louis Van Gaal and they will soon step up a couple notches, once the injured players return and the squad is completely familiar with the new manager’s methods.
Despite having nine players sidelined, with Ander Herrera a doubt ahead of Sunday after having been withdrawn on Saturday, United bounced back from a shambolic 5-3 defeat at Leicester to win 2-1 against West Ham over the weekend, their second consecutive win at home and one Van Persie believes is a sign of more things to come.
“I think we can be able to do that. If you look at these players, they are great players in their individual way. But now we are working together on this project and games like winning 4-0 against QPR help,” said Van Persie.
“We had a setback against Leicester [losing 5-3] but to win in these circumstances like the weekend sends a message and shows that even in these difficult games we can win. Now we have to extend that.”
The Dutchman said United were aiming for a top four-finish this season.
“To be in the top four. If you look at our players, fans, squad, stadium, it’s normal to be in the top four. This year we have a great manager, great staff, great fans so, when you look at everything together, it makes it hard [not to be in the Champions League].
“Everything is in place to be up there competing with the very best teams. I think we can do it and we will.”
Van Persie was also eager to stress that Van Gaal’s footballing philosophy will eventually pay dividends for United.
“I had two years with the national coach but that’s a different situation from working with him on a daily basis. But I had a bit of insight into how he works. Over the last two years I was with him for three days or nine days but it gave me a head start,” Van Persie said.
“His way of working is very good, very direct, very clear for everyone. There is a lot of communication and he’s doing great. He’s trying to get his philosophy into a lot of new players. Only me and Daley Blind knew how he works before, so that takes some time but I’m convinced that we will do what he wants us to do and go where he wants us to go.
“It’s very demanding in a good way as you have to be focused every single day of the sessions or the meeting. He wants players to get involved in the meeting too. You have to give your own input, which is what the staff likes. That’s a bit of the Dutch thing. Everybody gets involved in the project. We are all working on it,” he continued
“Everyone has their own say, which is maybe new for some players but not for me as I know how he works. I think it’s very interesting and very good because we are all pulling on the same rope – as the Dutch say. We all have one target, which is to win and win as much as we can. If I look at what I have seen in training and on the pitch in games I can see that it is getting much better. We are improving every day and getting better.
“Some training sessions are incredible and we are showing that in games as well. Now we have to extend that and make at least the top four. That’s a realistic target but it’s still early in the season. We are here, everybody wants to win every game, every training session and even if we are playing a different kind of game like table tennis. We are winners. We are not here just to set low standards. We want them to be as high as possible, winning games and winning trophies.”
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