Manchester United prepare for Europa League trip to Barcelona
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Former Manchester United striker Robin van Persie hinted at a potential return to the Red Devils as he covered Erik ten Hag’s outfit in their Europa League tie with Barcelona on Thursday. The ex-Arsenal star moved to United in 2012 controversially to win a Premier League title under Alex Ferguson, as some Gunners supporters failed to forgive the Netherlands man for his exit.
Van Persie currently works as a coach for Feyenoord but visited Carrington and spoke with Ten Hag prior to the Barcelona tie and could not hide his delight at hearing his name sung once again at Old Trafford by the United faithful, prompting him to hint that he may return to the club one day. “It’s amazing,” Van Persie said as he thanked the fans at the stadium. “It’s a bit of an ego boost as well to come back here. I might come more often!”
The Dutchman expressed how delighted he has been with Ten Hag since the boss took over in the summer, praising him following their interview. “I think it is very important to win tonight because you go into that final on Sunday in a good mood – a winning mood. The main thing, like you said music to everyone’s ears, is that he is now on his way in the process of bringing back that winning mentality which all the fans was used to under Sir Alex Ferguson.
“It is step-by-step, it is a process, he is leading by example, Erik ten Hag. He is in every morning. A couple of weeks ago I was with him for a couple of days just to learn and to see how he works, and he is in every morning at seven. He is leading by example, he is working hard, he is working on everything – drills, giving them confidence – that is what the players want to see. You can see there is a great connection between the players and the manager.”
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Van Persie was initially surprised that the fans remembered him so fondly, having spent just three seasons at the club. At the start of the show he said: “After all these years, they [the fans] still know me!”
The Dutchman then relayed a story that resonated with him about one United fan that highlighted the current positivity surrounding the Red Devils. “You can feel it everywhere,” Van Persie said. “I was travelling yesterday morning to Manchester, and there is a fan somewhere in this stadium, he travels from Bangkok, he came to see today’s game and Sunday’s game and he said it’s just such a joy to watch Manchester United play again.
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“He mentioned that it’s been a while, and that he’s just so happy to watch Manchester United play again, and he travels occasionally from Bangkok to enjoy. He said it’s just giving me so much joy to watch Manchester United play again.”
Van Persie may have previously hinted where his loyalties lie between United and Arsenal, having named four Red Devils team-mates compared to just two Gunners when asked by BBC Sport in 2021 to name the most talented players he competed alongside.
He may have doubled down on his stance by returning to United and visiting the training ground complex this week, before sitting down and chatting with Ten Hag prior to the Barcelona tie.
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