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Ferguson: We didn't use RvP properly

ESPN staff
August 21, 2012 « Jones eyes move to heavyweight | Chartbeat test »
Robin van Persie makes his Manchester United debut © PA Photos
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Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson admitted his team failed to get the best out of £24 million striker Robin van Persie in the short time he was on the pitch in the 1-0 defeat at Everton.

Van Persie, United's big summer signing from Arsenal, was brought on for the last 22 minutes with his side trailing to a goal from the excellent Marouane Fellaini. However, the 29-year-old did not register a shot on target as United failed to threaten Tim Howard's goal in search of an equaliser and Ferguson admitted they lacked a cutting edge.

"We played around him too much, we didn't show enough penetration,'' said Ferguson. "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.''

Ferguson, who saw his side lose their opening fixture for the first time since 2004, admitted they failed to cope with Fellaini at the other end as the Everton midfielder dominated a patched-up defence.

Midfielder Michael Carrick pushed into service as an emergency centre-back because of injury to Rio Ferdinand and Antonio Valencia was deployed at right back.

"He (Fellaini) is a handful: he is a big, tall, gangly lad and they just lumped the ball forward to him, that's all they did,'' added Ferguson. "They worked from that base all the time and they got a goal from him, so it's justified.

"Centre-back is a problem but we coped quite well, I don't think you can criticise their performance in that respect. It was just difficult to handle him when they were knocking these balls up to him. Michael did fine, good on the ball and applied himself well, they all applied themselves well.''

Goalkeeper David de Gea was in excellent form in the first half and had it not been for him Everton could have been well ahead by the interval.

"We were the better football team, they had eight shots on target and De Gea did very well for us in that way,'' he told MUTV. "But we had the possession and made some great openings without actually finishing it.

"That was the only difference. These shots on targets the goalkeeper did really well. Other than that we played good football, good combination play, on another day we would have won the match.''

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