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
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

Voices
Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014
voices

Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
Arts and Entertainment
Leonardo DiCaprio talks during the press conference for the film
films

Film follows park rangers in the Congo

Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
News
i100
Sport
Adel Taraabt in action for QPR against West Ham earlier this month
footballQPR boss says midfielder is 'not fit to play football'
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album