Updated: Friday, 5th June 2020 @ 4:07pm

To win we must use Robin: Ferguson rues Van Persie's exclusion as Manchester United stumble at Everton

To win we must use Robin: Ferguson rues Van Persie's exclusion as Manchester United stumble at Everton

By Dean Wilkins

After failing to score in their first defeat of the new Premier League season against Everton, Manchester United must play to Robin van Persie’s strengths, according to Sir Alex Ferguson.

New-boy Van Persie made his debut for United during their 1-0 away loss at Goodison Park after David Moyes’ side dominated from the offset.

And the 29-year-old Dutchman struggled to create an impact on the game as man of the match and goalscorer Marouane Fellaini ran riot in the Reds' weakened backline – leaving Van Persie fumbling for options in front of goal.

"We were a little bit disappointing in terms of finishing off the approach play we had," said Ferguson.

"We played around him (Van Persie) too much, we didn't show enough penetration.

"With Robin in your team you know you want to use his ability against centre-backs in situations he is very good at – but we didn't use him enough.

"I'm not criticising the team, they worked well and played some great football.”

Their noisy neighbours and Premier League champions Manchester City kicked off their campaign with a 3-2 win against Southampton on Sunday, and United could only watch as their injury list continued to grow leaving them further behind the title holders.

Rio Ferdinand suffered a groin strain in training – joining Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans on the sidelines – and Ferguson doubts if any will be fit for Saturday’s tie against Fulham.

"I don't think any will be fit for Sunday," he said.

"Hopefully Evans is getting near to be able to start. With a good week's training it will bring him on a bit and in a couple of weeks he will be okay."

Attacking winger Antonio Valencia was drafted into right-back alongside defensive midfielder Michael Carrick, who positioned himself next to captain Nemanja Vidic making his Premier League return after nine months out with a knee injury.

But despite losing their first opening game since 2004, United left with a huge positive in knowing that their best player was between the sticks as last season’s nerves were controlled assuredly by goalkeeper David de Gea who saved his team from an embarrassing start with several tremendous blocks.

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