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Carrick: Robin van Persie will be back to his best

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Robin van Persie got back on the scoresheet against Hull

Robin van Persie got back on the scoresheet against Hull

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Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick has backed Robin van Persie to get back to his best as the fear factor slowly returns to Old Trafford.

United produced their most convincing display of the season as they overpowered Hull 3-0 in a one-sided contest on Saturday in which Van Persie responded to his critics with a fine goal.

Van Persie's form has been indifferent this season and he came in for heavy scrutiny after an ineffectual display - in which he touched the ball just 13 times - in United's unconvincing win at Arsenal on November 22.

But a week made a big difference and he repaid the faith of manager Louis van Gaal with a much-improved performance as Hull were swept aside.

The 31-year-old threatened on a number of occasions and teed up a goal for Wayne Rooney before capping victory with a powerful left-foot strike. He left the field to a good ovation as he was replaced by fit-again Radamel Falcao - whose availability might have threatened Van Persie's place - for the final 20 minutes.

Carrick said: "We all get criticised at certain times and it's something you have to deal with. The best way to answer it is the way he did it against Hull.

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"Robin scored a great goal and hopefully that will be the start of a good run over the weeks to come.

"When you have got him scoring, Wayne scoring and Falcao coming off the bench and nearly scoring, we'll be a threat to anyone. You want those boys when they're flying and it's scary to play against.

"What Robin and Wayne did against Hull, we've seen that happen so often in the past and hopefully we'll see that in the coming weeks again. It gives the whole team huge confidence and belief that, even if we're not playing great, we're always in the game."

The victory over Hull also changed the perception of the United side as they adjust to life under new manager Van Gaal. It was their third win in succession - the first time this season they have achieved that feat - and came in such a convincing manner that confidence could only be lifted.

As United toiled last season it was said their reputation was no longer intimidating opponents, but Carrick is hopeful the current team can restore the lost aura.

The 33-year-old said: "I think everyone in the stadium felt it was a good performance and that's the sort of standard we want to be at - dominating teams and winning.

"We've done it in the past but the past is the past. We need to do it again and hopefully as time goes on we can carry on like this and that fear factor will creep back."

United will soon get the chance to put that to the test as they host Stoke on Tuesday.

Carrick said: "Arsenal was a huge result for us, but the performance wasn't great. We got the performance for long periods against Hull, winning comfortably in the end, so we will look to keep that going against Stoke.

"But we can't look too far ahead. We've never done that. We've never said, 'Right, we need to go on a 10 or 15-game run'. It's bit by bit."

United will be without forward Angel di Maria after the Argentinian pulled up with a hamstring injury early in the clash against Hull.

The club are still to learn the full extent of that problem but captain Rooney is expected to be fit after banging his knee on an advertising hoarding late in the game.

Falcao might also be pushing for a start after coming off the bench on Saturday following his recovery from a calf injury.

Van Gaal said: "He was not fit to play 90 minutes, but for 20 minutes okay. I can use him because now he has trained for a full week with the first team. He needs match rhythm."

Van Gaal, however, could opt to retain van Persie after his performance.

Injuries have meant it has been difficult for Van Gaal to field a settled side but Carrick is hopeful problems can be overcome to maintain the winning run.

Carrick said: "Our downfall this season is that we've had to change the team too much and we haven't had a consistent run with this squad. Hopefully that will change now and it's nice to have a game so quick so we can keep that momentum going."


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