'Manchester United played around Robin van Persie, we did not use him enough,' says Alex Ferguson following Everton defeat

 

Goodison Park

Sir Alex Ferguson admitted that Manchester United failed to make sufficient use of Robin van Persie in the 22 minutes the striker was on the pitch.

Although the United manager could console himself with the thought that he had won the Premier League twice after losing on the opening day of the season, he argued his side had failed to make proper use of their considerable possession and their £24m forward.

"I am not criticising the team," he said. "They worked well and played some great football. It is difficult here, where you have the crowd influencing the referee all the time. We played around Robin van Persie too much. We didn't show enough penetration and with Robin in your team you want to use his ability against the centre-backs. But we did not use him enough."

As a debut from the marquee signing of the summer, it was underwhelming stuff. Ferguson argued that Manchester United had been the "better football team" and might have had a penalty when Danny Welbeck was "pushed as he went into the box". Nevertheless, Ferguson's attitude can be gauged by the fact that the only journalists he spoke to were ones employed by his club.

However, few at Goodison would argue against Marouane Fellaini being man of this match. Perhaps he was aided by the absence of key defensive personnel that forced Ferguson to press Michael Carrick into service as a centre-half while Antonio Valencia auditioned as a right back but this was the Belgian's finest performance in an Everton shirt. In the wake of the departures of Tim Cahill and Jack Rodwell it was a timely intervention.

"When he performs like that, he is unplayable," said his captain, Phil Neville. "Just because of his sheer size and the way he puts himself around. I think his best position is when he is causing problems in the attacking third. With his sheer size he can catch the ball on his chest and bring people into play. He was the focal point of every one of our moves."

Everton's players expressed surprise not at the result but at its timing. David Moyes remarked that the only time he had overseen a good start at Goodison Park had been in 2004 when he had led them into the Champions League qualifiers – and even that campaign had started with a thumping at home by Arsenal.

"We don't normally start the season well and the manager has been drumming that into us all summer," said Neville. "Manchester United may have had the majority of possession but we had the majority of chances. We scored, hit the bar and the post and saw De Gea make some great saves from Osman and Baines.

"This time the manager has got us back earlier into training than any other Premier League team and, more importantly, he has recruited early. Normally, Everton recruit late and they are still bedding in around October, which may be why we start slowly."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links