Van Gaal demands more from van Persie
30 November 2014, 10:21
Manchester - Louis van Gaal wants to see more improvement from Robin van Persie even though the Dutch striker responded superbly to recent criticism in Manchester United's 3-0 victory over Hull.
Van Persie laid on a goal for Wayne Rooney and scored one himself in the second half of a win that returned United to the top four in the Premier League on Saturday ahead of Tuesday's home game with Stoke.
The former Arsenal star has scored just four times this season, but at least the display was a vast improvement on last weekend's win at Arsenal in which he only touched the ball 13 times.
United manager Van Gaal used his pre-match press conference before Hull to express his dissatisfaction over van Persie's form and pointed out that Radamel Falcao is now fit again and could take his place.
Van Persie responded to that threat in the perfect manner, but van Gaal says his compatriot still has room for improvement.
"Every striker needs a goal. When you don't score for the last two or three matches, you need a goal," van Gaal said.
"So I'm very pleased and happy for him that he scored his goal but I'm sure that he can play better than today."
Van Gaal's only major concern in a routine victory was an early hamstring injury to Argentine playmaker Angel di Maria that forced him out of the action and a late problem which saw Wayne Rooney receive treatment, although neither problem is of major concern according to the United manager.
"With Angel di Maria, it is always difficult to say but he will be out of our game against Stoke on Tuesday for sure," he said.
"He knows his own body very well and he said it was his hamstring straight away so maybe it's not too bad.
"Wayne Rooney said to me after the match that he'll play on Tuesday. But Rooney's always saying that!
"First he had a kick on the calf and after that he had problems with his knee but I don't think it's too much. I think he should play."- Injury reshuffle -
Van Persie started the game alongside di Maria in a new-look United attacking formation until the latter's injury forced a reshuffle that put the Dutchman into his usual lead striking role.
"In the beginning he played as a number 10, not a number nine and I think he played better in the striker position when I was forced to move him," added van Gaal.
"He can play very well at the number 10 but then you have to pass more than he did today. But I'm very pleased that he scored and that he had a big influence on the game."
Van Persie himself showed his relief when he admitted: "I was glad to score - I needed that goal to be honest. We played really well, you could see that in way we passed the ball.
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"Every week it gets quicker and better. Today it could have been 4-0 or 5-0."
Former United defender Steve Bruce has seen his Hull team win just once since the opening day of the season and he has now lost 17 of the 21 games he has managed against his old club.
His side are only out of the relegation places on goal difference, although Bruce remains confident they can stay up.
"You can't give away goals like the ones we gave away today when you come to a place like this," he said.
"We knew it was going to be difficult, the second season in the Premier League, but I'm still convinced with the squad we have, we will finish above where we were last year.
"We knew the first seven or eight away games this season were going to be difficult but, then again, we're Hull and there is a reality about that, we know."