Sky Sports pundit Matt Le Tissier believes Manchester United striker Robin van Persie is a player in decline.
Speaking on Sky Sports News HQ's The Morning View, Le Tissier highlighted the striker as a player who underperformed in United’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad on Sunday.
The Holland international has managed three Premier League goals and no assists for United this season in 755 minutes of action.
Van Persie was withdrawn after 81 minutes against City in favour of 18-year-old James Wilson with United desperate for a goal and Le Tissier believes the 31-year-old is not the player he once was.
“It is a bit of a struggle for van Persie,” he said. “I am not sure he is not feeling uncomfortable at the amount of great talent that is around him.
“He always seemed to thrive when he was the main man. At the moment he is nowhere near that.
Le Tissier on van Persie "He is not finding his form and maybe he might be at that point in his career where he has gone just past his best and he is on his way down a little bit."
Le Tissier on van Persie
“It gets highlighted when you are playing in such a high-profile team. If you are not doing it, you should come in for some stick.”
The defeat to City condemned United to their worst start to a league campaign since 1986 and left them 10th in the table, 13 points behind leaders Chelsea.
United's poor form has come despite the club sanctioning a huge outlay on summer transfers which saw the likes of Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao arrive.
The starting XI for the Manchester derby cost £241m to assemble and was the most expensive to ever take the field for a Premier League game yet they still failed to muster a shot on target until the 70th minute, at which point City had managed six.
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The club have now failed to win in nine consecutive away matches in all competitions under three managers – a run that is their worst since the 1988/89 season when they failed to win in 10.
Le Tissier feels United’s defending has been the principle reason for their poor run of form but believes Louis van Gaal has too much talent his disposal not to be able to turn the club’s fortunes around.
Robin van Persie
“It has been well documented, everyone knows where their problems lie and that is at the back,” Le Tissier said.
“It hasn’t been helped by Rojo doing his shoulder yesterday and Chris Smalling now being suspended. That was a poor piece of play by Smalling. In such a massive game, you can’t afford to be doing that.
“He (van Gaal) has had some tough starts at previous clubs so I don’t think he is going to panic about it.
“They have got so much quality there that you can’t really expect them to be in that position at the end of the season. At some point they will click.”