LONDON, England, April 17- No wonder Robin van Persie looked glum on Tuesday.
As the Dutchman met his team-mates at Macclesfield station to journey to London for tonight’s game against West Ham, Patrice Evra revealed the striker has been the victim of all the training ground jokes this week after celebrating his goal at Stoke by leaping on boss Sir Alex Ferguson.
Evra insisted he was delighted with the manner of United’s 2-0 victory at the weekend, claiming it was the reaction they required after that Old Trafford derby defeat.
And it also presented Van Persie with the opportunity to break his 10-game barren streak, which he celebrated by springing into the arms of his manager.
The Dutchman’s reaction has created a great deal of hilarity in the United dressing room too, where it has been one of the chief topics of conversation.
Not that Evra dare a repeat.
‘No chance. Never,’ said the France defender.
‘Maybe I will do it with my team-mates. But not with the gaffer. He is older.
‘Imagine I go in too strong against him. He could fall, then he might sack me. I will never do that.’
Evra could barely keep a straight face as he delivered his assessment of Van Persie’s reaction.
‘Robin has had a lot of stick from us,’ said Evra.
‘It was nice. I could see a lot of love and emotion.
‘It is the first time we saw that. Robin can tell you, for two or three days we have been getting at him. It is good to see love like that on the pitch sometimes.’
Evra, meanwhile, expects a physical bombardment even tougher than the one he faced at Stoke on Sunday when Manchester United tackle West Ham at Upton Park.
The Red Devils head south requiring just seven more points to clinch a record 20th championship.
But he knows better than to expect an easy time against the Hammers, whose fans take particular pleasure in making the Red Devils squirm.
‘At West Ham we have to be ready for the battle, like we were ready against Stoke,’ he said.
‘We know the challenge when you play Sam Allardyce’s team. They always knock the ball into the box and put a lot of crosses in.
‘That is the Sam Allardyce style. Why would he change it? Not because he is playing against Manchester United.
‘We have to defend well and be strong in the air.
‘That is what we have done against Stoke, although to be fair, it will maybe be tougher against West Ham.’