ROBIN VAN PERSIE has dismissed suggestions Manchester United will go into decline following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement. David Moyes’ first few weeks in charge have been overshadowed by the uncertainty surrounding Wayne Rooney’s future and his failure so far to land transfer targets like Cesc Fabregas and Leighton Baines. After coasting to the title last season – helped by 30 goals from Van Persie in his debut year – United are bracing themselves for a far stronger challenge from Manchester City and Chelsea, who will go into the new season under new managers Manuel Pellegrini and Jose Mourinho respectively. But Van Persie says United will simply redouble their efforts while the mentality and quality of the players already in the squad will ensure standards do not slide. “People can think what they like, ” he said. “We’ll work harder than ever to reach our targets, that’s a certainty. “The quality of the opposition will be even stronger this season so it’s up to us to always
improve. We’ll do this. “The quality is there, of course – so many great players. But this is also a team of champions. " Whatever the different characters or what countries they come from, they all have the same mentality. “They know they must win and appreciate what it means to play for United. " It’s an honour and with it comes a responsibility to be a successful team. I know we won’t let the fans down. ” Van Persie, who worked under Arsene Wenger for eight years and Ferguson for one, has been impressed by Moyes in his early weeks in charge. He added: “Sir Alex is a huge presence, but already the new manager has come in and impressed everybody greatly. There’s a new coaching set - up but the attitude of the players remains identical. “I know he is a good manager who did an excellent job at Everton. His teams were always mentally strong and united, which is hard to play against. “Now we can see his abilities and positive approach in training. I can say already that I’m
going to enjoy working with him. ” Van Persie’s decision to leave Arsenal last summer was fuelled by his determination to win major honours, his decision to join United paying off when he collected his first championship medal at the end of the season. That, he insists, has made him even hungrier for more silverware. “To come here after being at Arsenal for so long was a big decision, and thankfully it worked out very well for me, ” he told Nuts Magazine. “I got to work with a great manager in his final season, play with some great, great players, score goals and win the Premier League. “That was a dream and it came true. I’m even hungrier this season than I was last season. " Of course I was delighted when we won the title but there was a bit of relief in my emotions too. “I’d waited so long to reach that level and was desperate for it to happen. Now I have one title, I want more. “It’s an incredible feeling to know you’ve won one of the most difficult football competitions in
the world. I need that feeling again. “I’m just committed to always improving. I should be coming to an age where I’m playing my best football, so I want to score more goals, play better for the team and win trophies. “I’m never satisfied. This will be a big year for me with all the silverware we have a chance of winning and also the build up to the World Cup. ” Van Persie gets the chance to add another medal to his collection when United face Wigan in the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday. Before that they face Seville in Rio Ferdinand’s testimonial game at Old Trafford tonight(Fri). Ferdinand has paid tribute to Moyes for allowing him to continue his personal fitness regime designed to keep at bay the back problems that threatened his career at one stage.
He said: “The manager knows I’ve got a certain way that I need to train, that I know my body. "He has kind of left it open to us to continue what we were doing to get us playing last season. “That’s been fantastic for me because you get worried a little bit and think, ‘Oh, it’s a new manager, is he going to let us continue our regimes that we’re involved in to get us out to play football and to train every day?’ But it’s the sign of a great manager that he has let that continue.” Ferdinand feels Moyes has also struck the right balance in his relationship with the players. “The new manager is quick to join in the banter but when it’s work time, it’s work time,” he said. “The players at Manchester United aren’t there to mess about on the training pitch, we’re there to enjoy ourselves but to be drilled and to make sure we’re all going in the same direction, and that’s to be successful.” Ferdinand hailed the additions of Giggs and Phil Neville to the coaching
staff and believes their experience of the way United work will be invaluable to Moyes. But he joked that Neville had distanced himself from members of the current playing squad who he used to socialise with. “We don’t talk to Phil on first-name terms any more – it’s ‘Coach’,” he said. “He’s changed his number, he won’t let anyone call him. I used to speak to him and text him and stuff but he won’t have it any more. He’s a changed man.”