Van Persie set for long spell out

Published: Friday 27th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Manchester United striker Robin van Persie is set for a lengthy lay-off because of an ankle injury, manager Louis van Gaal has revealed.

Van Persie, who has scored 10 goals for United this season, turned his right ankle in the closing stages of the 2-1 defeat to Swansea last Saturday and left the Liberty Stadium on crutches.

Scans have shown the injury is “not heavy”, according to Van Gaal, but he still expects a relatively long spell out for the former Arsenal man.

The United boss said: “He is injured. He is the only injured player I have so we change (Michael) Carrick for Van Persie.

“He has an ankle problem. But I don’t think it’s very heavy but an ankle problem takes a long time. It’s not one week or two weeks but we have to wait and see.”

Although Van Gaal was reluctant to put a concrete time on Van Persie’s rehabilitation, he is definitely out of Saturday’s home game against Sunderland.

It would be hard to imagine him playing against Newcastle next Wednesday or facing his old club Arsenal in the FA Cup quarter-finals a week on Monday.

Van Persie’s absence increases the chances of Radamel Falcao being brought back into the starting XI.

Falcao, like Van Persie, has endured a difficult season at United, scoring just four league goals since his expensive loan move from Monaco.

“The possibility is higher of course because when a striker is away another has to play,” Van Gaal added.

“I never give you any openings [in terms of who he will play] so we will have to wait and see.”

Falcao and Van Persie are not the only ones who have underperformed this season.

A whole host of stars have failed to reach their peak this term, yet United remain on course for Champions League qualification after just two defeats in 16 Barclays Premier League games.

The Red Devils are fourth in the table, but Southampton are just one point behind and Liverpool are now two points adrift after their recent upturn in form.

Spurs, who have one of the most in-form strikers in the league in Harry Kane, are just three points behind United.

Van Gaal believes all four teams and third-place Arsenal are involved in an almighty scrap for Champions League qualification.

“It is because of the rat race between five clubs that we have to win, we have to be there,” the Dutchman said.

“You have to win your matches because the other clubs are winning their matches.”

Published: Friday 27th February 2015 by The News Editor

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