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Warnock: Shiftless van Persie should be more like Rooney

Ex-Leeds United boss quick to weigh in on Manchester United’s troubles following defeat in Greece.

What’s been a throughly disheartening campaign for the Red Devils only got worse this week with a limp performance against Olympiakos in the first leg of the sides’ Champions League round of 16 tie.

The blame game has, of course, been extensive during the brief yet torrid David Moyes era - and only more voices continue to be added to the discussion.

Moyes himself has taken the brunt of the criticism as the man at the helm, whilst the club’s failings on the transfer market have been put under the microscope and the quality of the current squad questioned.

For his part, Robin van Persie wasn’t impressed with his team-mates supposedly invading his desired space on the pitch in United’s midweek loss - claiming those around him made matters more “difficult” for him.

But Neil Warnock, never shy of airing a grievance of his own, thinks the Dutchman should be looking to one of his fellow attackers for inspiration - not expressing disapproval.

“I know what Robin van Persie’s said but, if he leads the line better, they would be a much more all-round team,” he told talkSPORT.

“If he put in more effort up front and chased more lost causes, like Wayne Rooney does, then it’s easier for his midfielders and his defenders to push up.

“The first line of your defense is your attack and I don’t think van Persie put in a shift.”

In a comprehensive view, United’s display against Olympiakos was wholly disjointed, lacking in organisation, drive and creativity - problems that have consistently cropped up this term.

Placing the onus for the defeat on any specific individual therefore is a difficult task and not necessarily one that will do anything to aid the Red Devils’ situation.

Van Persie doesn’t seem to have done himself any favours in implicating both his team-mates and manager, the latter through the back door from a tactical perspective - no less after a game in which he spurned his side’s best chance to salvage an away goal.

Getting back to work would’ve been a better option than courting more controversy, United already don’t look a cohesive unit and now only more questions have been raised.

Perhaps van Persie should take a lesson from Rooney - even in tough times not one to let his work rate drop off - as certainly the least Moyes’ squad can do at this point is to chase every lost cause that presents itself in the run-in.

image: © Doha Stadium Plus

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