It is hard to believe Robin van Persie has any regrets about his debut season at Manchester United, but there is something the Dutchman just can’t forget.
Having joined the Reds from Arsenal in a £20million transfer last summer, the 30-year-old went on to score 26 goals as Sir Alex Ferguson bowed out of Old Trafford with title number 20 secured in the trophy cabinet. Not only this, but the Holland international, who has in the past been labelled injury-prone, featured in every Premier League match.
It is widely accepted that van Persie was the reason United eased to title, not just with the amount of goals he scored, but the fact many were point winners. However, when he looks back on his debut campaign in Manchester, he admits he still has regrets over the way Real Madrid eliminated his side from the UEFA Champions League.
“It is probably my only regret about last year,” he told MUTV. “The referee played an important part but I should have scored at least one or two goals in those games. I didn’t, which I don’t like. I have to improve on that. Hopefully we can do better this year.”
A 1-1 draw in the Bernabeu set United up for the second leg of the second round clash, but Nani was sent off at Old Trafford and the Spaniards, including Cristiano Ronaldo, went on to win the match 2-1 and progress to the quarter-finals on aggregate. Jose Mourinho’s team eventually crashed out to Borussia Dortmund at the semi-final stage, and then the Germans lost to Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich in the Wembley final in May.
United begin their campaign this time round on Tuesday night, when Bayer Leverkusen provide the opposition. Shakhtar Donetsk, the Ukraine side, and Spaniards Real Sociedad make up a group which is trickier than many have perhaps envisaged.