Robin van Persie had a difficult start to the season and struggled to find the back of the net. After the appointment of Louis van Gaal, fans assumed that the striker would return to playing as well as he did in his first season, but his form was poor.
Over recent weeks, Van Persie has been looking a lot sharper, and the Dutchman claims that he’s been feeling a lot fitter in this time.
I think everything starts with how you feel physically because when you’re feeling fit and healthy then you can do more. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been feeling very well physically,” he told MUTV. “I feel like I can make more runs and keep things going up until the last bit of the game. I feel good and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the goals are flowing in much better now. It was a hard start to this season. I don’t know what is to blame for that. It’s hard to maybe pick things up straight away after the World Cup. I have played five tournaments in total over the last few years – three European Championships and two World Cups and based on the moments after those tournaments the first period was always tougher even though I felt fine and fit. Somehow it can be tough to really get back to your best form. It felt great [to score twice at Southampton], not only because of the goals but I was actually quite happy with how I was playing and how I was holding the ball up for my team-mates. That’s where it starts – you have to be important for your team by holding the ball up, being strong in duels, make runs for your team-mates, not just for yourself, and all those things were going right. I don’t think it was luck with the two goals I scored. With the first one, I got the ball from a backpass. It’s about making your own luck – I made that run and got into that positon and the ball went through the goalkeeper’s legs and I got lucky because there was just enough pace on it to go in. When you’re doing all the things you have to do and you’re making your runs and you’re strong then you create your own luck. That was the case with the second goal too. I have been making that run [to the back post] for the past few months [laughs] and giving everything for it, but the ball never came that well. This was the first time that the ball came exactly where I wanted it to. If you keep doing that then the ball will come and you will make your own luck.
Van Persie turned 31 this summer but he doesn’t think his age can be blamed for any drop in form.
Personally I don’t think so but if you look at the papers [laughs] then it’s different! It’s a strange feeling…when you hit 30 and you’re having a bad spell everyone say it’s because you’re 30 or 31 and things might be over for you! I don’t think it’s an age thing – I live a quiet life for my football and I’m almost convinced now that I will play for many years to come at the highest level, at least that’s what I want and what I’m aiming for. The age thing is not an issue for me at all.