For Robin Van Persie, the flamboyant striker and captain of the Dutch national team, the departure of football manager, Sir Alex Ferguson from Manchester United has been especially painful. Persie had a great equation with Ferguson and he thinks that the current United boss, David Moyes, is not in the same league. Persie is learnt to be telling his team-mates and friends that Moyes’ method of training and tactical advice have had a direct bearing on his current form and a series of injuries, he suffered in recent times.
Ferguson served Manchester United for more than 26 years and he was the most highly admired and respectable coach in the history of club football. Ferguson retired in May 2013 and his tenure as a coach was longest, recorded by anybody else. During his career with Manchester United, the celebrated club won 38 trophies, including 2 UEFA championships and 13 premier league titles.
Last Friday, Moyes announced that Persie could not take part in any fixture for Manchester United until the New Year because of a thigh strain. Persie confided to his friends that he was forced by coach Moyes to take positions, which led to the injury. Persie suffered from the thigh strain while taking a corner during the match with Ukrainian professional football club, Shakhtar Donetsk, on December 11, 2013. Earlier, Persie had been out of play for about a month due to injuries to his groin and toe. The sustained exclusion from the playing eleven has been telling on Persie’s morale and frustrating him. He was disappointed to occupy the sidelines during the Manchester Derby on September 22, 2013 and the Capital One match with Liverpool three days later on September 25th. For the sake of records, in the Manchester Derby, United were completely outplayed by City and lost the game 1-4. Critics blamed Moyes’ very inflexible 4-4-2 plan, which was merrily exploited by City midfielders. But Manchester United emerged 1-0 winners in the Capital One Clash at the Etihad Stadium against arch-rivals Liverpool.
Van Persie blames over-training and needless running insisted upon by Moyes as the major causes for his frequent injuries. The former Arsenal footballer has had a remarkable run of 90 consecutive premier league games, before he was forced to stay out of the Manchester Derby. Persie was brought to United from Arsenal by Ferguson in the summer of 2012 and in this football season he has scored 10 goals in 16 appearances so far.
But somehow, Persie and Moyes are on different wavelengths. Moyes made a statement that he was disappointed at not being able to pair Persie with Rooney. The growing rift between the coach and Persie is getting lot of media attention. As per one report, Persie has had several heated exchanges with Moyes and members of his staff at United’s Carrington office. Another source of the coach-player mismatch comes from an admission from Sir Alex Ferguson in his autobiography published this week. In his book, Ferguson has offered apologies to Persie in not being able to keep his promises of continuing as United manager for a few more years, when he signed the striker from Arsenal.
Both Moyes and Persie have denied the news on their rift. Moyes has told media that any decision on the method of training and tactical game plan is in the collective interest of the club. Similarly on Thursday last, Persie praised his coach’s managerial style, apparently to distance himself from the news, floating in the media.
But there cannot be smoke, if there is no fire. Therefore, there had better be some truth, however small, if Persie is so disenchanted. Before disharmony with Moyes could erode Persie’s confidence further, it is best for the United management to address the issue.
Persie has expressed strong views on match preparedness and rehabilitation, stating that his explosive style of play doesn’t require the kind of training regime Moyes has planned for him. It is highly advisable that the coach hears his player with patience. Together, the two could work out a middle-of-the-road solution. After all, the Club is not paying Persie for sitting on the benches.