Robin van Persie has backed David Moyes to bring about a revival in Manchester United’s fortunes but said the former Everton manager needs time to make his mark.
United, who are 11 points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal, have lost five of their last 12 games in all competitions and face the prospect of finishing outside the top three for the first time since 1991.
However, Van Persie, who has missed their last nine games with a thigh injury, believes the club and the supporters will be patient with Moyes.
He said in The Guardian: “I think he needs time like everyone, especially if you are new at such a big club. And to be fair, I don't think people don't understand that they have to give him a little bit more time, and I am talking about fans or even us. He will get that time and everyone is convinced that we will change things sooner than later.”
United have already dropped more points than they did in the whole of last season and former Arsenal captain Van Persie accepted their performance level has not been of the standard required.
He added: “We lost many points this season, too many in our opinion, because if you want to go for all the trophies, you have to play better and get more wins in but we are doing everything we can to change that. The manager is our leading man in that case and he is trying his best and I think he will turn things around.”
Van Persie believes he produces his best football when he is working in unison with Wayne Rooney.
Rumours persisted throughout last season that Van Persie’s arrival at Old Trafford had unsettled Rooney, who was forced to play a supporting role to the former Arsenal man, but the Netherlands international told the UEFA magazine: “We realise that we are stronger when we are playing together, as a partnership.
“You are always stronger, in any sport, in life, when you are doing stuff together. With a player of Wayne’s calibre, we can go from strength to strength, and we can become even better. One game he will score a couple, the next game I will score a couple. It is important that this partnership is becoming even stronger.”
He added: “In a way we are both ‘nine-and-a-halves’, because we can play high up front and we can drop. That is an extra quality we have, which is quite rare. If you look around you have loads of main strikers, target men, foxes-in-the-boxes, and you have No. 10s who are dropping in more.
“With us it’s not obvious because we can both do that job. Wayne is doing a bit more, because he is playing behind me, but we can both do it.”
Van Persie also discussed his relationship with legendary striker Marco van Basten, who had coached him during his role as Netherlands boss between 2004 and 2008.
“The way he [Van Basten] looked at football was ice cold,” Van Persie said. “I remember a game against Manchester City and I hit the bar, the post twice and one chance went just by it, and we lost that game.
“I went to play for Holland and he asked me: ‘How was your game?’ I said: ‘Yes, actually quite good.’ Then he said: ‘How was your game?’ I said: ‘Yes, actually not bad. I was a bit unlucky, but I think I played well. I hit the post and the bar...’
“He said: ‘No, no, Robin -- it’s not good enough. You need to make sure that you score those goals, that they don’t hit the post or the bar, and you should not be happy if it hits the bar or the post, because the bar or the post is not a goal. So, no, it was not good. I watched the game and you’ve got to change your mentality of looking at those situations.’
“He opened my mind, because he was right.”