The Telegraph
Thursday , February 27 , 2014
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Teammates not helping my cause: Van Persie

Robin van Persie

Athens: Robin van Persie accused his Manchester United teammates of getting in his way as he cut a frustrated figure following the club’s damaging Champions League defeat to Olympiakos.

Goals from Alejandro Dominguez and Joel Campbell left United with a huge mountain to climb to make it into the quarter finals of the Champions League.

Van Persie wasted a good chance to score a vital away goal at the end as the Dutchman put in an uncharacteristically poor display.

The former Arsenal striker later said that his cause was not helped by the positioning of some of his teammates.

“It was quite difficult because my teammates are often in the area where I want to play… My teammates are not helping my cause,” the United striker said.

“That’s why I have to change my tactics. Unfortunately, they are often in my area.

“It was much too slow today and we only had one shot on target in the whole match against Olympiakos, which is far too little. Everyone is very disappointed.”

United have to win by three clear goals to be sure of their passage to the last eight of the competition they were claiming they could win in the run-up to Tuesday’s first leg in Athens.

With United out of both domestic cup competitions and 11 points adrift of the top four in the Premier League, the Champions League is the only trophy David Moyes’ team can win this year, and Van Persie is refusing to throw in the towel just yet.

“It is still possible, because with all due respect to Olympiakos, we should be able to win 3-0 at home,” the striker said. “It is not that they were fantastic (in the first leg), we just mostly failed.”

Manager David Moyes admitted he and his Manchester United players failed to show their ability and quality in Athens after former club captain Roy Keane lambasted their performance.

Keane claimed Moyes would have been “shocked at the quality he is working with” at Old Trafford after succeeding Alex Ferguson as manager last summer.

“I think there is undoubtedly talent at Manchester United but tonight we didn’t show it,” Moyes said. “Me and the team, we didn’t show it together.

“It is something we will have to do. We will put it right. We are determined to put it right and will have opportunities to do that in the coming weeks.

“That’s the worst we have played in Europe that’s for sure. We never really got going from the start and we didn’t deserve to win because of the way we played.

“We never really got to grips with things and to a man you could hardly pick anybody out. We just didn’t perform,” he added.

When asked whether he had been let down by his players against the Greek champions, Moyes insisted he should shoulder the blame for the performance, arguably United’s worst in Europe for 20 years.

“I take responsibility,” Moyes said. “It is my time and I will always front it up. The players are hurting as well. They know how they performed, but it is a team here and it won’t change.

“We will stick together. There is a second game to come and Old Trafford has seen some great nights in the past and I am looking forward to hopefully seeing another one. The one good thing is that there is still a second game to come.”

One of the standout performers on the night was Joel Campbell, who scored Olympiakos’ second goal. “I dedicate the goal to my father, who was in the crowd. When I scored, I ran towards where he was sitting and shouted out that I loved him...”