It's all smiles now I'm at Old Trafford, says former City target Van Persie
22:00 GMT, 7 December 2012
Right choice: Van Persie has scored 10 Premier League goals this season
The two Manchester clubs spent all summer haggling over him and, three months into this intriguing season, Robin van Persie is preparing to play his first derby game in the North West.
The Dutch forward has scored 10 times in 13 Barclays Premier League starts and City manager Roberto Mancini’s frustration at not being able to land a player he earmarked a year ago has only grown.
For the player, there seems to be no doubt he made the right decision in leaving Arsenal for Old Trafford. ‘I made my mind up quickly and I am coming into work with a big smile on my face every day,’ Van Persie told MUTV on Friday night. ‘It is not really work, it is my hobby. I love football, but everyone has been so nice and I have been having the time of my life. So I don’t regret that decision.
‘Of course in a derby you have lots of people involved – fans and players. Everyone is really committed and we will do all we can to win. It is not a decider to win the league, but we can make a huge step forward.’
The story of how Van Persie ended up at United and not City is interesting. He told friends in Holland he always fancied Old Trafford, while United scoff at suggestions they just offered more money.
At City, though, Mancini remains convinced he would have signed the player at the start of the summer – after first making ‘contact’ in March – had his board come up with what he believed to be an appropriate offer.
Training day: United prepare for the fixture at Carrington on Friday
Mancini was diplomatic on Friday but, as his own strikers struggle for goals, the Italian underlined the value of Van Persie. He said: ‘United were a strong team and bought Van Persie and also Kagawa. They put another 25 goals into the squad. Am I frustrated No. In this moment, it is in the past.’
Whatever the truth of the saga, Van
Persie has certainly been at the heart of United’s season as Sir Alex
Ferguson’s team have repeatedly come back from difficult situations.
Poker face: Mancini kept his composure on Friday
The striker added: ‘We can score in any minute of the game, from any angle. From corners, from free-kicks, from open play, with headers. If you look at the history of this club, it’s a lot about comebacks and it says a lot about the players, the manager, the staff, the whole club.
‘If you can do it once it’s nice, if you can do it a couple more times it’s even nicer but if you can do it as often as us it is a strength. So whatever happens on Sunday, everyone knows we always bounce back.’