United manager Louis van Gaal has brought both Radamel Falcao and Angel di Maria to Old Trafford create an offensive quartet, featuring both van Persie and England’s Wayne Rooney, which would be the envy of many a side.
However, United’s defensive problems, which have seen them concede 13 goals in seven games so far this season, have limited the impact of their attack.
Nevertheless van Persie was heartened by the way United held on to beat West Ham 2-1 last weekend despite being reduced to 10 men after Rooney was sent off.
Asked if United will be able to frighten teams with their firepower, Dutch striker van Persie, speaking Monday at the launch of United’s first global sustainable technology partner Abengoa, said: “I think we can be able to actually do that. If you look at these players, they are great players in their individual way.
“But now we are working together on this project and I think games like winning 4-0 against QPR help. We had a setback against Leicester (losing 5-3), but to win in these circumstances like the weekend sends a message and shows that even in these difficult games we can win. Now we have to extend that.
“The first half was 11 v 11 and we were playing really well as a whole team. Eight minutes later it was 10 v 11 and the whole thing changed, but the way we fought for each other was unbelievable. It was a bit nerve-wracking at times, but we dug in and we did it so it gave us a lot of confidence.”
– Top four ‘realistic’ –
Van Persie, who knows van Gaal well from their time together with the Netherlands national side, insisted the manager wanted input from the United players at team meetings as the club looks to recover from a relatively low seventh-place finish in last season’s Premier League which denied them European football this term.
“He wants players to get involved in the meeting too. You have to give your own input, which is what the staff likes. That’s a bit of the Dutch thing. Everybody gets involved in the project. We are all working on it. Everyone has their own say, which is maybe new for some players but not for me as I know how he works.”
Van Persie said a top four finish in the Premier League, which would qualify United for next season’s Champions League, was a “realistic target”.
He added: “We have to make at least the top four. That’s a realistic target but it’s still early in the season.
“We are here, everybody wants to win every game, every training session and even if we are playing a different kind of game like table tennis. We are winners. We are not here just to set low standards. We want them to be as high as possible, winning games and winning trophies.
“This year we have a great manager, great staff, great fans so when you look at everything together it makes it hard (not to be in the Champions League).
“Everything is in place to be up there competing with the very best teams. I think we can do it and we will.”