Robin van Persie has opened up on the mental and physical toughness Manchester United needed to win their last Premier League title under Sir Alex Ferguson.
After carving out a reputation as a prolific goalscorer at Arsenal, Van Persie joined the Red Devils for £27m in the summer of 2012 – and fired them to a 20th Premier League title.
The previous season, United had been beaten to the league crown by Manchester City in a dramatic end to the final day, so were desperate to win back the bragging rights in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final campaign as manager.
And so it transpired, with Van Persie scoring some crucial goals – including a last-minute winner at the Etihad in December which dented City’s title defence.
And the 36-year-old has recalled a chat with former United teammate Michael Carrick following that 3-2 victory which reveals just how tough Fergie’s side had to be in order to wrest back the title from their neighbours.
“I was talking with Carrick after the game and he said if you start to win these type of games, we have a very good chance of winning this year,” Van Persie told United’s official website.
“That is what I felt during that whole first season: everyone was so relaxed and confident. We went behind in 16 different games in the league and we still won by 11 points.”
While legendary manager Ferguson retired on a high at the end of the 2012/13 campaign, United have not managed to add to their record tally of top-flight titles in the seven seasons since.
There is hope they can do under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the Norwegian having led his side to third place in the Premier League this season as Liverpool moved within one title triumph of their bitter rivals.
And Van Persie has explained the qualities he and his former teammates needed to ensure they would end the season as champions.
“The toughness of everyone, physically and mentally: I was impressed at the level,” the former Holland international said.
“In training sessions they were tough on each other, but everyone was okay with it. They were just cracking on and dealing with injuries, setbacks and defeats.
“There was a calmness, in combination with the characters and staff we had.
“There was some kind of arrogance floating around everyone: we got this, whatever happens, we got it.”