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Van Persie urges Man United to give Solskjaer time

Manchester United v Watford FC - Premier League
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Robin van Persie believes it’s essential Manchester United give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a fair crack at overturning their decline in form.

Following a record-breaking start as caretaker coach, United awarded Solskjaer a three-year permanent contract in March.

The Norwegian had won 14 of his opening 17 matches in charge at Old Trafford, which memorably included their dramatic Champions League last-16 comeback victory over Paris Saint-Germain.

It marked a welcome sight for United supporters, who had witnessed a terrible start to the season under Jose Mourinho.

Soon after being named Mourinho’s permanent replacement, however, Solskjaer suffered six defeats and managed just two wins in United’s final 10 games of the season.

Hence, the Red Devils crashed out of the Champions League and FA Cup quarter-finals and finished a distant sixth in the Premier League.

“I think it’s the perfect match, it’s just they’re having a bad spell,” Van Persie told BBC.

“Back in the day it was normal for a manager to get time. Nowadays if you lose six games, you’re out. Is that the solution?

“Give someone time, especially if it’s a kid from the club.”

He added: “It’s funny because when he started everyone was so positive, they were winning and they made a miracle by beating PSG.

“Everyone was screaming like, ‘Give the guy a permanent deal’. And then since that permanent deal the luck went away a little bit; they’ve been losing more games than they want to.

“But he got a three-year deal and everyone should look at the bigger picture. His presence, the way he presents the club, is the proper way in my opinion. He’s positive, he wants to achieve big things with the club and that is the only way forward.

“He’s a man of the club, he played there for more than 10 years, he won the Champions League – actually his goal got them the Champions League – so he has a big part over the years at the club.

“He’s been a coach of the reserves, he is Manchester United. Similar, in a different way, to Ferguson. He was Manchester United and Solskjaer is Manchester United as well.

“Everyone has that at a certain time. He had a fantastic first period – now the last 12 games have been tough. OK, but next season they have to pick themselves up and go again.”

Patience needed at Old Trafford

Arsenal v Manchester United
LONDON – MARCH 28: Manager Arsene Wenger of Arsenal argues with manager Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United during the FA Barclaycard Premiership match between Arsenal and Manchester United at Highbury on March 28, 2004 in London. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Van Persie played in the Premier League between 2004 and 2015, where he scored 144 goals in 280 appearances for both Arsenal and United.

The Netherlands’ record scorer had the rare privilege of playing under both Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson. The iconic duo spent long glorious spells at the helm of Arsenal and United respectively.

“In that way, I’m a little bit old school,” said Van Persie.

“Major changes, what do they do? Arsene stayed at Arsenal for 22 years, Sir Alex at United for 26 years.

“If he wants absolutely the best and only the best for the club, give him time. Is it going to change, to find a new manager now after a bad run? And then, so what, he will have a good start and then they will be in the same position.

“Nowadays, as well, if you look at the news, if you hear stories, it’s so business-wise.

“If a player has a couple of bad games, ‘OK, sell him!’. If he doesn’t score a few goals, ‘OK, he’s out, he’s finished’.

“Back in the day you used to get time, you can make mistakes, you can learn. Now I get the feeling that time is less. Ideally, you would get time – as a player, as a coach.”

Van Persie managed 58 goals and 21 assists in 105 appearances for United between 2013 and 2015. He also won the Premier League title in his debut campaign at Old Trafford.

After a spell in Tukey at Fenerbahce, the 35-year-old returned to old club Feyenoord in 2017. He won the KNVB Cup and Johan Cruyff Shield before retiring from football earlier this month.

Manchester City v Manchester United - Premier League
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 09: Robin van Persie of Manchester United celebrates scoring the winning goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)