Edwin van der Sar backs Manchester United striker Robin van Persie after goalless streak extends to 10 games

Dutch striker enjoyed a great start at United but has found goals difficult to come by recently

Edwin van der Sar insists Robin van Persie has nothing to reproach himself for despite his barren streak extending into double figures.

It is now 10 games since Van der Sar scored his last goal for Manchester United, against Everton at Old Trafford on February 10.

Since then the Red Devils have crashed out of both the Champions League and the FA Cup and on Monday were beaten by Manchester City to see their lead at the top of the Premier League cut to 12 points, with seven games remaining.

But Van der Sar insists his fellow Dutchman need not be concerned about his contribution.

After all, the 19 goals he has scored are one of the major reasons why United ended up so far clear in the first place.

"Robin is playing well," said Van der Sar. "All he is not doing is scoring goals.

"As a striker, all you want to do is score. But he has done his bit during the first and middle portions of the season.

"And he is still one of the best players in the Premier League."

If there is any team Van Persie can feel confident about breaking his duck against it is Stoke.

He has scored seven goals in his last five games against the struggling Potteries outfit, including one in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford in October.

Indeed, United as a whole can feel reasonably confident about a visit to the Britannia Stadium.

After all, since Stoke returned to the top flight in 2008, United have won eight of their nine meetings, drawing the other one.

And with Tony Pulis' men so out of form, it would be a major surprise if a previously unstoppable title drive stalled again so quickly after Monday's reverse.

"If Manchester United had won on Monday that would have been it," said Van der Sar.

"That result would have hurt, as it always does when United lose a game.

"But the only way to get over it is to focus on the next one.

"The title is almost over and that is the prize they really want.

"Over the years United have had some good results at Stoke and they are more than capable of doing it again."

PA

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