Robin van Persie has opened up about his relationship with Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal, which broke down before his move to Fenerbahce.

  • By Michael Bell
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van g van pVan Persie was Van Gaal’s captain and number one striker during the coach’s spell in charge of the national team, but after a year together at Manchester United, the striker was shown the door. The 31-year-old completed his move to Turkish side Fenerbahce last week.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Van Persie said on Van Gaal, “I know Louis as a national team coach and now I get to know him as a club coach. And there is a difference.”

“But I was still thinking we could come back from holiday and start from scratch,”

“He had changed his mind about me before. When he took over Holland he said to me ‘You’re the No 3 striker.’ I was ‘O…K…’ but I fought and became the No 1 and his captain.

“But when I came back, it wasn’t an honest battle any more. Fighting to get back in the team wasn’t given me as an option. He was sending me to Pitch Two. And I’m a mature player. I’m not stupid. I didn’t get angry or emotional. These things are part of football, part of life. You have to make the best out of any situation so I’m doing this by moving on.”

Van Persie then stated that he knew the writing was on the wall after being left out of the 1-0 defeat to Chelsea on the 18th of April, “That was one of the first signals things weren’t going in the right direction,”

“I asked to play in the reserves, to get my minutes, but after was on the bench again. The atmosphere changed between me and Louis and people at the club saw it, but I was always professional. At that point I didn’t think to leave. Bouchra was happy. The kids were happy. I was happy in Manchester.”

The striker then took a swipe at Van Gaal for not managing his fitness properly last season, which meant he missed several matches, “The World Cup was very intense, physically and mentally, especially as a captain,”

“Maybe I needed one more week’s break before the season. Over Christmas I played three games in six days, full games, and my tendon got inflamed but I kept playing, taking painkillers, to help the team.”

“I think it was just extreme tiredness (injury suffered v Swansea in February). That was one of the tricks of Arsene and Sir Alex. Sir Alex knew exactly how he would handle Rio or Giggsy or Scholesy. That’s how they played on so long. Arsene knew exactly how he would manage Bergkamp. That is a managing skill and not every coach has that skill.”

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