Ferguson happy with Van Persie, despite seven-goal striker's assist fears
12:44 GMT, 6 October 2012
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 pre-season games, which is quite remarkable, having seven goals from seven games.
Net result: Robin van Persie hqas scored seven times for Manchester United
'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 24million 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 have strong attacking options with Van Persie, fit-again Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez – all three of whom started in Cluj – and Danny Welbeck, a substitute in Romania.
Hands up: Van Persie in action against Spurs
England forward 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 need to come from behind.
Ferguson said: 'In the last couple of years he has played that position a lot. We tried to avoid the counter-attack as much as we could. Their goal was from a counter-attack.
'We saw that and the difficulties they created and we tried to force them onto us so we could counter-attack. 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 travel 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.
Last time out: Demba Ba hits Newcastle's first against Manchester United
'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.
Pardew wary of Van Persie
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is preparing himself for a high-octane shoot-out as Manchester United roll into town intent on revenge.
The two sides last faced each other on Tyneside on January 4 when Sir Alex Ferguson's men left on the wrong end of a 3-0 scoreline having been comprehensively beaten.
He said: 'Van Persie's confidence levels set him apart at the moment. He is one of those players who actually believes he's the best, and that's dangerous.
'Usually even when things are not going well and they are missing chances, they still think they are going to score.
'Demba is a little bit like that – he has that kind of attitude. There will be great strikers on view on Sunday, for sure.
'There will be so much ability on the pitch, you can't help but think there are going to be some great moments in the game – hopefully more for us than them.'
One thing puzzling Ferguson is why his team keep falling behind, the Cluj game being the sixth occasion this has happened this term.
He said: 'I can't give you an answer. It is not as if we haven't addressed it. We started well the other night but from their first attack we were 1-0 down.
'That was the strength of their game. It was brilliant movement. It was hard to blame somebody.'
Ferguson has noted that more teams – particularly in Europe – now excel in an area where his teams have always been strong – the counter-attack.
He said: 'I think the game has changed. The counter-attack in the Champions League has changed dramatically.
'Twenty years ago you maybe counter-attacked with one or two players. Now they are flooding forward in fours or fives.
'And there is always an attraction to shove four and five bodies in the box for a corner. Every team that has a corner sees it as an advantage. I don't know whether it is an advantage sometimes.'
United have 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.