David Moyes has insisted that the club will be doing their best to make sure that Robin van Persie doesn’t get injured for a substantial period of time despite being rushed back into first team action.
The 30-year-old came on as a substitute against Shakhtar Donetsk for the last half an hour and although he wasn’t 100% fit, he made a real difference to help United secure the win.
He has been sidelined for a few games where United have missed him but Moyes is now keen to make sure that there is no chance of any long term injuries to Van Persie.
Speaking before the game, he said: “Well he played 90 minutes and I didn’t want to on Saturday, I wanted to play him for 60/70 minutes but I asked him if he could carry on as we were 1-0 down and needed to get a goal.
“I want to make sure we don’t lose him over the Christmas period with long injuries, so the idea tonight was to give him 20 minutes if we needed him but I didn’t want to risk him from the start.”
As it turned out, United did need Van Persie and he was instrumental in the win. It was his corner that fell to Phil Jones who made no mistake with a very well taken volley. His introduction alongside Cleverley changed the ebb and flow of the game which allowed United to get the foothold they lacked prior to the substitutions.
There is no doubt that Wayne Rooney is the most in-form player at United but against Cardiff and Tottenham, we missed Van Persie’s presence. It isn’t just about goals with him, it is the whole package – hold up play, possession, chance creation and goals on top, he is always a focal point of our side when he plays.
Last year, Van Persie was the engine behind United’s title charge and although he hasn’t influenced this campaign quite as much yet, Moyes knows he cannot afford to have Van Persie laid off for a long time through injury. Hopefully he will therefore use him sparingly until he is completely fit again.