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Sunday 22 April 2018

'Robin is rocking with United' - Moyes

Reds manager claims big clash with Arsenal 'special' for Van Persie

RED TIDE: David Moyes has backed Robin van Persie to relish tomorrow’s clash with Arsenal.
RED TIDE: David Moyes has backed Robin van Persie to relish tomorrow’s clash with Arsenal.
Wayne Rooney

David Moyes insists Robin van Persie is loving life at Manchester United.

Although Van Persie took his tally to nine for the season with his goal at Fulham last weekend, after a sparkling debut campaign the Dutchman has not always looked at ease this term.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger cheekily suggested yesterday he still thinks of Van Persie as a Gunner ahead of this weekend's clash between the two clubs, in recognition of the eight years' service he gave to the north London outfit.

However, Moyes disputes that belief and claims from what he sees, Van Persie is perfectly happy where he is.

"I still think tomorrow will be special for Robin," Moyes said ahead of the clash with Arsenal at Old Trafford.

"It is the club he played a lot of games for. But he has moved on now. He loves what he is doing here.

"In the time I have worked with him, he only speaks very highly about everything about the club.

"I went for a chat with him when I first got the job and he spoke in glowing terms about United.

"But obviously he had a great time in his early career with Arsenal as well."

Moyes, meanwhile, believes Arsenal's flying start to the Premier League campaign underlines the value of managerial longevity.

In a summer of dramatic change at three of England's four Champions League contenders, Arsenal remained an oasis of stability.

Although they had completed eight seasons without a trophy, there was never any question of the Gunners' hierarchy ditching their boss of 17 years.

The decision has reaped its reward in Arsenal charging five points clear at the top of the table, and eight ahead of United before tomorrow's showdown.

It may be a surprise to some. Not to Moyes.

"People who really know the game did mention Arsenal," said Moyes.

"They've got stability. For the first time in a long time, a lot of the other sides have changed their manager. I felt Arsenal would have an opportunity because they are not having those changes. The manager knew all the players and was used to working with them.

"Arsenal have always been a good team, so it should not be a big surprise they have started the season so well.

"It just shows it is the right way for clubs to go in the long term. I do believe that the way to get success is to stick with your manager and give them a lengthy period in the job."

Given United boast an unbeaten home record against Arsenal that stretches back to 2006, Moyes can clearly call on a number of men who have positive experiences of the two clubs' meetings.

Wayne Rooney (above) is an obvious example, having launched his career against the Gunners with his wonder goal for Everton in 2002.

Though United remain in eighth position, they are within striking distance of their rivals, with the gap to Arsenal being cut to five points with a victory. Conversely, an 11-point lead is on offer for Arsenal, although Moyes does not feel even that would rule United out of contention.

"We're going to try and make sure it isn't the situation but if it is we need to make sure we get it back," said Moyes. "There is an awful lot of football to be played. You have to play everybody twice. That is when you decide who are the champions and who aren't."

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