Olympiakos 2 Manchester United 0: Robin van Persie questions team set up after defeat, claiming team-mates are occupying 'my zones'

'My fellow players are sometimes occupying the spaces I want to play in,' says Dutch striker

Georgis Karaiskakis Stadium

Robin van Persie questioned the way Manchester United are being set up as a team after the desperate 2-0 defeat at Olympiakos on Tuesday night, declaring that a duplication of roles is causing his team-mates to occupy his spaces on the field.

Van Persie was isolated against the Greek champions and also spurned a fine opportunity six minutes from time. But he became the second United player, after Rio Ferdinand, to question publicly an aspect of the David Moyes set up in his claim that other players are impinging on his territory.

“My fellow players are sometimes occupying the spaces I want to play in,” he told the Dutch broadcaster NOS, when asked whether he was being asked to drop deep to collect the ball. “And unfortunately, they are often playing in my zones. I think that's a shame. And when I see that, it makes it difficult for me to come to those spaces as well. So that forces me to adjust my runs, based on the position of my fellow players.”

Moyes admitted that he “didn't see that level of performance coming” after the defeat in the round of 16 first leg game. He said he would “take responsibility” for a display in which United “never really got to grips with things. ” The manager said: “To a man, you could hardly pick anybody out. We just didn't perform. I take responsibility. It is my team and I will always front it up. We didn't play well. We have to play better. We can do and the one good thing is that there is still a second game to come.”

 

Former United captain Roy Keane declared that the club needed six or seven players to rebuild and replace players “who just don't have the quality” after the defeat which leaves United needing to overcome a 2-0 first leg deficit successfully for the first time since Ron Atkinson's team prevailed against Barcelona in 1984.

“There is a lack of confidence and there are some players who just don't have the quality,” Keane said on ITV. “We've been brainwashed that the Premier League is the best in the world. Nonsense. It's the best brand in the world but they have fallen behind, United more than most. They need six or seven players to rebuild the club. Privately David Moyes will be shocked at the quality he is working with.”

Read more: 'United can still turn tie around,' claims Carrick
Comment: Excuses running out for Moyes after grim defeat
Keane fumes - even about the post-match interviews
Match report
That's the worst United have played in Europe - Moyes

Moyes had admitted that falling behind in games is a problem for his team and United did so for the 16th time this season, 11 of which they have gone on to lose. The Greeks' two goals came in a 17-minute period either side of the break, with Arsenal loanee Joel Campbell adding to Alejandro Dominguez' opener.

Moyes said of Keane's comments: “I think there is undoubtedly talent at Manchester United but tonight we didn't show it. Me and the team we didn't show it together. It is something we will have to do. We will put it right. We are determined to put it right and will have opportunities to do that in the coming weeks.”

The manager said the performance was United's worst in Europe under him. “We came into the game in good form and a good mind set but it just didn't show. I am just surprised. But I have to say I still don't think we were necessarily two goals worse off. But we didn't offer enough to create a goal.”

A downbeat David Moyes looks on from the touchline A downbeat David Moyes looks on from the touchline  

Of the fact that Adnan Januzaj was not even on the United bench, Moyes said: “I decided last week I would play Tom Cleverley and it was a time to bring in and out at the right moments so I chose not to use him.”

Van Persie's criticism follows Ferdinand questioning in December Moyes' decision to name the team at the last minute. “You spend a lot of nervous energy thinking: 'Am I playing' or 'Am I not playing?' and you're just going round in circles in your head and turning into a madman,” he said.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
Sport
Sergio Romero saves Wesley Sneijder's penalty
world cup 2014But after defeating the Dutch, Lionel Messi and Argentina will walk out at the Maracana on Sunday as underdogs against Germany
Sport
Scoreboard at the end of the semi-final World Cup match between Brazil and Germany at The Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte
Sport
'Saddest man in Brazil' takes defeat with good grace, handing replica trophy to German fans
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
News
The garage was up for sale in Canning Place Mews for £500,000
newsGarage for sale for £500,000
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil