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Oct 6, 2012

Ferguson happy with van Persie's start

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is "quite happy" with Robin van Persie despite claims from the player he must do more.

Van Persie took his goal tally since joining the club to seven in as many games with a double in the midweek Champions League win at Cluj but then said he needed to contribute more assists.

But Ferguson said: "I think he is a good passer of the ball and has good vision in his passing too. I think the goal he made last week for (Shinji) Kagawa against Tottenham is evidence of his passing ability. I am quite happy with what he is doing now.

"The refreshing thing for me is, he has actually not had any preseason games, which is quite remarkable, having seven goals from seven games. I am quite pleased about that and I think his fitness will improve even more."

Van Persie scored 37 goals and was named player of the year in his final season at Arsenal before moving to Old Trafford in a 24-million-pound ($38.7-million) deal in the summer.

The Dutchman has settled quickly at his new club and Ferguson would be delighted if he could emulate what he did last term.

"I would love that to happen," the Scot said. "In my experience of where we are the moment I think you need two strikers who will get you 20 goals. You get that, then you definitely have a live chance."

United has strong attacking options with van Persie, fit-again Wayne Rooney, Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez -- all three of whom started in Cluj -- and Danny Welbeck, a substitute in Romania.

Rooney, who returned to action from a badly-gashed leg last week, played deeper than the leading frontman Hernandez in a difficult game in which United needed to come from behind.

"In the last couple of years he has played that position a lot," Ferguson said. "We tried to avoid the counterattack as much as we could. Their goal was from a counterattack. We saw that and the difficulties they created and we tried to force them onto us so we could counterattack. It didn't quite work like that but, with Chicharito occupying the two main central defenders, it gave a bit more space for Rooney and van Persie."

As well as pondering his own forward permutations, Ferguson must contend with Newcastle's dangerous strikers as United travels to the Sports Direct Arena on Sunday.

Demba Ba has six goals to his name this season while Papiss Cisse, who scored 13 last season after joining the Magpies in January, has emerged from a barren run with two in three games.

"Both have good scoring records," Ferguson said. "They rested Ba on Thursday (their 3-0 Europa League win over Bordeaux) and played (Shola) Ameobi. I don't know what the combination will be. There is talk about including Ameobi in the team for Sunday. But, either or -- Ba and Ameobi are strong, aggressive players and Cisse has scored some fantastic goals for them.

"We are aware of their strengths and (Hatem) Ben Arfa from midfield is an excellent player."

United beat Newcastle 2-1 when the sides met in the Capital One Cup last month but both managers fielded much-changed sides and that encounter is unlikely to have any bearing on this weekend's.

United has Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick available again after illness while Jonny Evans has recovered from a dead leg. Paul Scholes was rested in midweek and could return.

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