Arsenal jeers won't rile Fergie's man 'Van'

Updated: 2013-04-28 10:21

(China Daily)

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Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson says he has no concerns about the prospect of Robin van Persie facing abuse from fans of his former club Arsenal when the teams clash at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Van Persie left Arsenal in an acrimonious 24 million pounds ($37 million) transfer last year and has been a revelation in his first season at Old Trafford.

His hat-trick at home agaainst Aston Villa on Monday took his tally for the campaign to 24 league goals and secured the title for United, which Arsenal has pledged to acknowledge by forming a guard of honor for the visiting team.

The sight of van Persie being applauded on to the pitch as a league champion by his former teammates is liable to provoke strong feelings among the Arsenal supporters, but Ferguson believes the Dutchman will not be fazed.

"I don't bother about it, and I don't think Robin should bother about it either," said the United manager.

"There was a bit of booing when he played (against Arsenal) at Old Trafford, and I expect a portion of fans will do that. That is the modern generation, I am afraid.

"For Arsenal to have one of their players go to their biggest rivals of the last 20 years doesn't sit well with their fans, nor Arsene (Wenger, the Arsenal manager) for that matter.

"But it does happen. You just have to move on. Arsenal have moved on now. They are challenging for a Champions League place and have every chance of getting one."

Ferguson has urged United to go on and break the Premier League points record of 96 by winning its four remaining games, but Sunday's showdown will be of far greater significance to the fight for Champions League qualification.

Arsenal, in third, fourth-place Chelsea, and fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur are separated by just two points, but Wenger's side is at a disadvantage as it has played a game more than its rivals.

However, its form is excellent, with six wins in its past seven matches, and Wenger believes his side's performances prove that van Persie has not been unduly missed.

"What you want to focus on is that when the big players go, you just want to get around it and try to find a new organization that is efficient," he said

"You always miss a big player. The only thing I can say is it took us a while to get around it, but if you look at the number of goals we've scored, it's similar to last season (1.91 goals per game compared to 1.95)."