Manchester United F.C. striker Robin van Persie is lacking confidence and struggling to make an impact in matches, according to his manager Louis van Gaal.
The Dutch international has scored three goals in 11 games this season and touched the ball only 13 times before being substituted during the 2-1 win at Arsenal last Saturday.
“It was a very bad game for him,” Van Gaal told reporters. “That is why I changed him.
“You can count his touches on the ball and 13 is few for a striker. You know how strikers are. They feel they have to score goals.”
Van Persie scored 31 goals in his first season at Old Trafford, firing United to the Premier League title in 2013.
The 31-year-old failed to make a similar impact in the following campaign as United struggled to seventh place under new manager David Moyes.
But he led the Netherlands to third place in this year’s World Cup and was widely tipped to be named Manchester United captain following the arrival of his compatriot Van Gaal as manager.
Van Gaal, however, opted to give Wayne Rooney the armband and the imminent return to fitness of Colombian forward Radamel Falcao will add to the pressure on Van Persie.
He was replaced by 18-year-old James Wilson in the Arsenal match and Van Gaal could be tempted to start the young striker against Hull City on Saturday.
“You shall wait and see,” the Dutchman said. “For Robin it is a question of confidence, or maybe scoring a wonderful goal at the right moment.”