Last season, only three outfield players started more games for Manchester United than Robin van Persie, yet he only managed 10 goals in the league. Louis van Gaal persisted with the striker even when it was clear he wasn’t up to the job anymore.

Van Gaal has today revealed that he did protect Van Persie last season but this summer he had to make a decision on the striker’s future based on how much, or little, he contributed to last season.

That is also a process. It is what we have experienced in the whole season with each other. You have to oversee all the aspects. People have written that Van Persie is my favourite player and that I protect him and yes maybe I have done that. But in the end you always have to evaluate which players have contributed to our fourth place, which players a little bit and which players no contribution, and then you make decisions but you make decisions on facts and not on other things.