Man Utd not reliant on Van Persie - Fergie

Van Persie has settled in fast at Manchester United. Photo: PA

Sir Alex Ferguson insists Manchester United are not too reliant on Robin van Persie.

The Dutch sharp-shooter has enjoyed a stellar start to his United career and took his goal tally to 11 in 14 games when he began the Red Devils' latest comeback in Braga on Wednesday.

Yet Van Persie's contribution, after he had started on the bench, raised question marks over United's ability to perform without him.

Ferguson's team have won every game in which the 29-year-old has scored on their rise to the Premier League summit and qualification for the Champions League group stages with two games to spare.

The United boss does not view it as an issue though.

"I don't think it's a problem relying on Robin," he said.

"Last year, we lost (the title) on goal difference. I don't expect us to lose on goal difference again."

There have been plenty of top strikers who have failed to match their billing following much-hyped arrivals at Old Trafford.

Not Van Persie though.

Indeed, his strike rate is better than that of fellow countryman Ruud van Nistelrooy, who took 19 games to reach the same figure following his transfer from PSV Eindhoven in 2002.

"Van Persie is experienced," said Ferguson.

"He had eight years at Arsenal and that helps. He has come to us at the right time."

And he is being given excellent support from Javier Hernandez, who has scored five times in his last four games, rediscovering the form he showed during his debut campaign, and also Wayne Rooney.

"The way Javier has started this season, I'm certain he'll get to 20 goals plus," said Ferguson.

"Wazza will get there too, he'll get 20 goals plus I'm sure.

"It's a healthy combination we've got there."

The trio might get a couple of extra midweeks off now too.

Not only has qualification for the last 16 in Europe been confirmed, so has a top seeding, turning the final couple of games against Galatasaray and Cluj into experimental affairs.

As Chelsea and Manchester City - who meet immediately after the next round of matches - are sweating on their extended status in the competition, United clearly have an advantage over their rivals which they hope will strengthen their present position.

"I can utilise the squad in Europe now and it gives us good opportunity to offer anyone a rest who needs one.

"We still want to win the games but it is a good position to be in, not like last season, which had a definite impact on the mood of the camp."