Moyes denies Van Persie unhappy at United
Manager insists ongoing problems are not a result of trying to change too much since Alex Ferguson era
Manchester United manager David Moyes has dismissed suggestions Dutch striker Robin van Persie is unhappy at Old Trafford, after a shock 1-0 loss at home to Newcastle United.
The defending champions have now lost five matches in the Premier League, which is the same number of defeats as they suffered in each of the last two seasons.
Van Persie returned to the starting XI for the Newcastle match on Saturday following almost a month out with a groin problem.
Former Liverpool player and television pundit Mark Lawrenson has claimed the Dutchman is not content at United and may even have submitted a transfer request.
But Moyes is adamant he has no problems with the striker and issued a forceful rebuttal of the claims.
“That is absolute nonsense. I don’t know what harder or tougher word I could say, but that’s as good as I’ve got,” said the Scot.
Moyes insists United’s ongoing problems are not down to him trying to change too much since he succeeded Alex Ferguson at the end of last season.
Marouane Fellaini, a £27.5-million pound signing from Moyes’ former club Everton, was the only major new arrival during the close season.
A small section of the United supporters booed the team off at the final whistle, but Moyes maintains the fans accept the job he is facing.
“Change it? I don’t think I’ve changed anything. It’s the same players,” he said.
“I’ve brought one player in and I would have done that anyway. If I’d changed it, there might be something to be critical of, but we’ve gone along with basically the same players and introduced young Adnan [Januzaj] into the team, so I don’t think we’ve made any changes.
“Manchester United supporters have been great to me and the club. They understand there’s a great transition going on here.
“I don’t think they or me expected us to have lost five games at this stage of the season, but I think they understand totally that there’s a change going on.
“It’s the same players that won the Premier League last year – everybody’s aware of that.”
Fellaini missed the match with back bruising, while defender Chris Smalling was absent with a tight hamstring and Shinji Kagawa was still recovering from an illness he contracted after Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to Everton.
On Kagawa, Moyes said: “He was very sick after the game and did a bit of training yesterday [Friday], but all of the stats we looked at were low and we felt we would be better to not take a risk in case he got an injury.
“It was bad sickness. He thought he’d eaten too much and had to get his stomach pumped, but he’s OK.”
Yohan Cabaye scored the only goal of the game when he swept home Moussa Sissoko’s cut-back just beyond the hour.
It was Newcastle’s fifth win in six matches, and their first victory at Old Trafford since 1972, and manager Alan Pardew rated it more highly than the victories over Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur earlier in the season.
“This ranks above those, because this is a very difficult place to come,” he said.
“It’s a difficult place in terms of the stadium, the aura of it, and you’ve got to concentrate for 90 minutes. Last year we were 3-2 up with nine minutes to go and it was a couple of errors in that period that cost us the win.
“This time when we scored, that was what I was most concerned about. You have to concentrate and play every moment on this pitch, and we did that.”