Van Persie missing piece in Ferguson’s title jigsaw

United manager hails striker ahead of Newcastle clash today.


Afp December 25, 2012
Van Persie’s haul of 15 goals has fired United four points clear of champions Manchester City heading into the hectic Christmas programme. PHOTO: FILE REUTERS

LONDON: Alex Ferguson has hailed Robin van Persie as the missing piece in Manchester United’s title jigsaw as the Premier League leaders bid to extend their lead at the top against Newcastle today.

After missing out on the title to City last season, United were in need of a new driving force this term and Ferguson believes van Persie is providing it.

“I am reluctant to subscribe to the cult of an individual but sometimes you find the last piece of the jigsaw,” said Ferguson. “We did it when we brought Eric Cantona to Old Trafford and he proved to be the right player at the right club at the right time. He became the catalyst and springboard for our surge to success.”

City can still overhaul United, says Barry

Meanwhile, Gareth Barry is confident Manchester City will be able to chase down United at the top of the table as the champions face Sunderland today.

City overturned United’s eight-point lead in the final six games of last season to win the Premier League title and Barry is adamant Mancini’s side have a similar determination this time around.

“When there’s a little gap it’s important that you don’t slip any further behind,” said Barry. “If we can keep chipping away hopefully we can be there at the end of the season. It’s going to be a big Christmas for us.”

Rodgers backs Liverpool to cope with Stoke barrage

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is sure his team can cope with Stoke’s physicality as he prepares for today’s trip to the Britannia Stadium.

The Reds are finishing 2012 strongly, with a run of four wins in five matches taking them to within five points of the Premier League’s top four.

“They challenge you physically,” said Rodgers. “It’ll be a tough game but we’ll be ready for it because you have to be able to mix your game as well and this team can do that.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 26th, 2012.

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