David Moyes has dismissed suggestions that Robin van Persie is unhappy at Manchester United and says the striker has a good chance of returning for today's game against Stoke.
Van Persie was rested for the midweek 1-0 Champions League victory over Real Sociedad and it was claimed in the Netherlands that supposed injuries to toes and groin were a cover for dissatisfaction in training.
"That's complete nonsense," the manager said. "He has been playing with injections in his toes, he played one game for Holland with injections and we wanted to get away from that and give him a proper rest.
"I told him before the Southampton game that if he played he could miss the midweek game to get a little bit of recovery time. One of his small toes has been bothering him for a while and then he got the other one stood on at Shakhtar Donetsk and he felt it was affecting his groin as well."
By his standards, Van Persie has made a relatively quiet start to the season, but he has scored four goals in seven Premier League games.
“He’s playing well, he’s doing some great stuff for us and I’ve found him fantastic to work with,” Moyes said. “I’m surprised I am even having to answer this because he’s been that good.”
Moyes would accept his team are not scoring enough. An inability to extend their lead beyond a single goal ended up costing them points when Southampton produced a late equaliser in the last league match and the story could have been the same against Sociedad, despite creating a hatful of chances.
“At least we are creating chances, you can’t say we are not going for it,” Moyes said. “It is a concern because we should have been out of sight against Sociedad. We’ve been hitting the post and bar and I’ve no doubt that somewhere along the line it will go for us and the goals will go in but at the same time we do need to be more clinical.
“You can do as much finishing practice as you want, recreate situations on the training ground and so on but the important thing is to do the job on Saturday afternoon. I would have taken the win in Europe no matter what because the points were important.”
With only one taken from the last couple of home games, Premier League points are becoming a matter of concern, although Moyes takes the long view. "Only two months of the season have gone, I think there will be other teams slipping up before the end," he said. "We just have to make sure we don't slip up as often."
– Guardian Service