Monday, December 4News That Matters

Van Persie cheekily names one team Erik ten Hag doesn’t want in Last 16

Robin van Persie has suggested there is one team Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag will not want to face in the last 16 of the UEFA Europa League.

United fell behind to Barcelona in the second leg of Thursday’s round play-off tie at Old Trafford but rallied with a solid second-half display as goals from Fred and Antony secured a 2-1 (4-3 on aggregate) win.

The Red Devils can now get excited about Friday’s round-of-16 draw and Van Persie was not convinced by Ten Hag’s claim that he does not care who his team face in the next round.

When asked if he has thought about who Manchester United might face in the last 16, Ten Hag told BT Sport: ‘It doesn’t matter for me!

‘I focus on Newcastle United [in the Carabao Cup final], that is the only thing that counts. Doesn’t matter who will come, we have to beat them all, we know that, if you want to win a cup.

‘We will see. We will respect every opponent, don’t get me wrong. But we are well prepared and we have strong belief we can do it.’

At that point Van Persie said: ‘I think Erik wants to play against anyone except one team. Who’s that? Feyenoord!’

Ten Hag laughed and replied: ‘I go to [Robin] to get all the information! No, I think it’s a possibility.’

Van Persie has been coaching at Feyenoord since hanging up his boots, though there will not be any divided loyalties if the two clubs were to face off in the competition.

Asked who he would be rooting for if the two teams were drawn against each other, the Dutchman said: ‘I work for Feyenoord now! And Feyenoord is my childhood team so.. difficult one.

‘Listen, Manchester United won so many things over the years, let Feyenoord win this one then!’

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