One of the subplots to Manchester United’s disappointing story has been the fractured relationship between Robin van Persie and David Moyes. Last season Fergie put his faith in RVP to lead United to the title, at the expense of his relationship with Wayne Rooney, and van Perise responded by leading the club to its 20th league title.
Fergie left over the summer and David Moyes decide to back Wayne Rooney, meeting with the England striker several times before taking over the United job.
There have been leaks and rumors for months that van Persie was not happy at United and that his relationship with David Moyes had broken down. Moyes has always denied this, but van Persie comments to Dutch broadcaster NOS after the match in Athens last night was the first public acknowledgment that something is not right between van Persie and Moyes.
“My teammates are sometimes occupying the spaces I want to play in,” he said. “And when I see that it makes it difficult for me to come to those spaces as well. So that forces me to adjust my runs, based on the position of my fellow players. And unfortunately, they’re often playing in my zones. I think that’s a shame.”
Criticizing the manager will not help improve things between the two. In both the Crystal Palace and Olympiakos matches, van Persie has had the body language of someone who wishes he was elsewhere. He has been isolated in both games, rarely touching the ball. Whether that is tactical or not, United need their center forward to be more involved in matches.
The teammate that van Persie is referring too has to be Wayne Rooney. United fans have known for months that the relationship between United’s two best players is also fractured. If several games recently the only time that van Persie and Rooney has passed the ball to each other was during the kickoff.
I expect to see more of types of stories coming from the United camp as the season winds down. It has been bitterly disappointing season, and with a huge turnover in personnel expected over the summer, there are a lot of unhappy players in the United dressing room. United players are not used to playing out the string with three months left in the season and that frustration will come out publicly in the coming weeks.