Manchester United manager says Dutch striker's substitution in FA Cup clash was pre-planned and not because of injury.
Youngster James Wilson replaced the Dutchman after 65 minutes against Cambridge United in the FA Cup, sparking murmurings of yet another injury.
Those rumours were fanned when Van Persie headed straight down the tunnel after saluting the fans, however his manager has instead confirmed that the change was pre-planned and not enforced.
“I said already [to Robin] at half-time, ‘I shall change after 60-70 minutes because I want you to play against West Ham United,” said Van Gaal.
"It’s always difficult to play three matches in a week. I have given rest to five players. I think that when we have won, after the match I can say it was a very good decision. I gave van Persie a rest during the match and also Di Maria, and I gave Ashley Young minutes to play because he is back again.”
The game against Cambridge was Van Persie’s 99th in a United shirt, but the striker was unable to add to his goal tally. He has so far failed to emulate the goal scoring prowess he enjoyed during his first season at the club, although he is the club’s top scorer in the Premier League on nine.
One player who did get on the scoresheet was his replacement Wilson, who managed to find the net shortly after his introduction, and Van Gaal was particularly impressed with his side’s performance during that part of the game.
“In the second half, I think we played better,” he added.
“We created many more chances but we didn’t score. Robin van Persie had four possibilities to score, but [on the whole] I am pleased.”