Rio Ferdinand warns Manchester United there is along way to go

Reds lead Manchester City at the top of the table by seven-points

Rio Ferdinand has joined the throng happy to heap praise on Robin van Persie - but the Manchester United defender is acutely aware judgement will only come when trophies are being handed out.

Van Persie landed both the PFA and FWA player of the year prizes last term for his outstanding form at Arsenal.

Yet, much as Arsene Wenger views Champions League qualification as an end in itself, the Dutchman remained unfulfilled.

After seven trophyless seasons with the Gunners, the 29-year-old decided it was time to head down another avenue, and much to Roberto Mancini's chagrin, he opted for United ahead of Manchester City.

The move looks to have worked out for all parties.

Van Persie took his tally to 19 with a double at Wigan yesterday, ensuring the Red Devils maintained their seven-point advantage over City at the summit of the Barclays Premier League.

However, as a veteran of five championship-winning campaigns, Ferdinand is acutely aware there are greater rewards at stake than just sheer weight of goals.

"Robin is an important player," said Ferdinand.

"The manager saw something in him and made it his mission to buy him this summer.

"At the moment, thankfully, he is doing what he came here to do.

"He is not only scoring goals. He holds the ball up well and brings others into play. He does a fantastic job.

"But we are not at the end of the season yet. No medals have been handed out.

"We don't want to jump about too much. Up to now he has done fantastically well. But the job is still there to be done."

The most notable aspect of Van Persie's arrival has been the ease with which he has settled into life with the Red Devils.

A goal on his full debut against Fulham in August clearly helped the process, as does a unified dressing room, according to Ferdinand.

"Winning the league is down to a group of players rather than one individual," said the former England star.

"But it is easy for people to settle in here.

"We have a great bunch of players and there is a great ambience in the squad.

"It is a great place to come to if you are willing to come in, work hard and be a member of the team."

There is little doubt Van Persie has done that, so quick has he been to share the praise for his own endeavours.

His partnership with Javier Hernandez has proved particularly productive.

Between them the duo scored seven times over the festive programme, presenting Sir Alex Ferguson with an obvious selection dilemma when Wayne Rooney recovers from his minor knee injury.

Not that either Van Persie or Hernandez is likely to start the weekend FA Cup tie at West Ham, given Ferguson has virtually an entire team of fresh alternatives to the players who started yesterday, with a crucial Premier League encounter with Liverpool looming immediately afterwards.

Even if Rooney's absence continues, Danny Welbeck and Shinji Kagawa can threaten the Hammers at one end, whilst, at the other, Ferdinand is delighted at the form which has yielded successive clean sheets.

"That was a nice feeling," said Ferdinand.

"The idea is always to win games, so the clean sheets issue has been put on the back burner a little bit.

"But we do pride ourselves on our defending and we are happy with two clean sheets on the spin."

Ten points from 12 over the festive programme represents a satisfactory return given City only managed nine.

However, after last season's startling collapse, when United lost a bigger lead in a far shorter space of time, Ferdinand is not wanting to let his focus drop.

"Last year was the first time City had challenged properly and there was a lot of focus on Manchester," said Ferdinand.

"But we have to make sure we keep our own house in order, make sure we keep ticking off the games.

"There is no point us focusing on anyone but ourselves."

PA

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Sport
Esteban Cambiasso makes it 3-3
premier league
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleFirst memoir extracts show she 'felt pressured' into going out with the Sex Pistols manager
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late
Sport
Lewis Hamilton in action during the Singapore Grand Prix
Formula OneNico Rosberg retires after 14 laps
News
i100
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
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

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam