Van Persie must start up front for Manchester United - Macari

Former Red Devil believes to get the best out of the Dutchman, he has to play in a central role rather than on the wing and he also feels he needs time to settle in at the club
Former Manchester United star Lou Macari feels Sir Alex Ferguson must start Robin van Persie up front rather than on the wing to get the best out of him.

The Dutchman made his first appearance for the Red Devils in their defeat to Everton on Monday at Goodison Park following his £24 million move from Arsenal, but struggled to make an impact after replacing Danny Welbeck after 70 minutes.

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But Macari feels if the 29-year-old was used in a central role, rather than being away from the box then United will start to reap the rewards of having him in their side.

He told The Daily Mirror: “I know Sir Alex came out after the game with that angle about United not utilising Van Persie properly, but I felt the issue was the position he took up when he came on.

“I think Sir Alex was right to go with Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck [in his starting XI] because they have done well together.

"When Van Persie came on, he realised he only had just over 20 minutes to make an impact.

“He obviously wanted to get involved straight away on his debut, but I felt he dropped too deep and went looking to play one-twos to get a touch of the ball.

“I think he should have stayed around the penalty area because that’s where he is most dangerous and where he does most of his good work.

“I expect him to play there on Saturday against Fulham, whether it’s from the start or whether he is brought on again.”

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The former Stoke City boss feels Van Persie is under pressure not only to live up to his hefty price tag but also to replicate the form of last season, when he scored 30 goals in the Premier League.

However, he believes like with any other player the Netherlands international must be given time to settle to his new surroundings.

Macari added: “Obviously when Manchester United pay £20-odd million for you and you scored as many goals as he did last season, you’re going to be under pressure to score.

“But he only signed last week and he’s only played 28 minutes or whatever it is, so it’s ridiculous to judge him yet.

“For me, the biggest issue for United at Everton was the number of defenders they were missing through injury and their makeshift defence could not withstand the pressure from Everton who played like men possessed.”