SWANSEA, February 20- Robin van Persie is expected to return to the squad as Manchester United aim to extend their unbeaten run to eight matches in all competitions when they face Swansea on Saturday.
Netherlands striker van Persie missed United’s 3-1 FA Cup fifth round victory over Preston North End with an unspecified minor injury, but manager Louis van Gaal confirmed his compatriot is expected to be fit for the Premier League fixture at the Liberty Stadium.
If van Gaal decides to recall van Persie, who is United’s top scorer with 10 league goals so far this season, it is most likely to be at the expense of Radamel Falcao.
The Colombia forward has struggled to find consistent form since moving to Old Trafford on a season-long loan from Monaco in September.
He was replaced by Ashley Young after 60 minutes during Monday’s match at Preston and United improved significantly after the substitution and tactical switch.
That victory meant United have now lost just once in 19 matches and Young attributes the recent success to a strong bond within the dressing room.
“The club has always had great spirit. I’ve seen that since I’ve been here,” Young said.
“All the boys in the dressing room are fighting for each other and when you have that off the pitch you take it on to the pitch.
“It’s one of the qualities we have as a team. It’s a team sport and we always go out and play as a team.
“We showed that on Monday night from the first minute to the last and in the way we came back into the game and won it.”
– Bloodied nose –
Van Gaal has already had his nose bloodied by Swansea during his brief United career.
The Welsh club enjoyed a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford on the opening day of the season, courtesy of Gylfi Sigurdsson’s goal.
However, the Icelandic midfielder believes van Gaal’s team are a different proposition now.
“While it was a fantastic result at Old Trafford for us, United are different now,” Sigurdsson said.
“They are more settled and are winning games and grinding out results – like we saw at Preston in the FA Cup on Monday.
“They’ve found their rhythm and have some great forward players who can turn games around.
“And at the back they’ve got quality in (goalkeeper) David de Gea, who is having a fantastic season.”
Swansea have won just once in the Premier League since Boxing Day and Garry Monk’s side have slipped to ninth in the table.
But Sigurdsson is available again, having served a three-match ban after being sent off at Blackburn in the FA Cup fourth round.
And the former Tottenham midfielder, 25, is desperate to make amends with a strong performance against third-placed United.
“We have got to get better if we want to get a result against them. We lost a bit of form after Christmas but I’m confident we will bounce back,” Sigurdsson said.
“It has been frustrating for the boys too because we haven’t got the results we wanted. But you go through these types of patches in the season when things don’t go your way.
“We need to turn it around and a win against United would certainly do that.
“We beat them on the opening day of the season and it was a great start for us. We went on a good run after that and we’ll look to do the same this time around.”