• FA Cup

Tired Van Persie expects poor Chelsea v United clash

ESPN staff
March 31, 2013

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Robin van Persie believes Manchester United's FA Cup quarter-final replay against Chelsea will be a scrappy affair, admitting he will struggle to regain fitness after helping United defeat Sunderland 1-0 on Saturday.

Van Persie, 29, had his 27th minute shot deflected into the Sunderland net off Titus Bramble and played the full 90 minutes despite finishing the match less than 48 hours before his side's trip to Stamford Bridge.

The Dutchman insists the timing of the fixtures and Sir Alex Ferguson's decision not to completely overhaul his side for the win at the Stadium of Light means Monday's match will become a war of attrition.

"It is not ideal. Normally on the second day your muscles are quite bad, but now we have to play at this certain time," Van Persie said. "It is a shame but we can't do anything about it because there are Champions League games in midweek and Chelsea are still in the Europa League. We just have to deal with it.

"People have to realise they can't expect a great game of football because it is not possible. If it happens I am glad - but don't expect it because these games are just too close to each other."

Van Persie's strike was recorded as an own goal to Bramble, but the striker - who has scored 19 goals in the league this season - is confident he will be credited for his efforts.

"Of course, no question about that," he told Sky Sports. "I think you could see [I enjoyed it]. It's been a while so it was good to score again, and it was an important goal. Today it was all about three points and we got them.

"We knew before that it was going to be tough; away at Sunderland is always going to be very hard. They work hard and play a game with lots of long balls, second balls and we had to dig in. We did that, everyone fought hard for a deserved win.

"This team, if you ask me, is just full of winners. Everyone knows what he has to do. I was never in doubt, even if it was still a small score at 1-0. I was always confident we would win this game because of players like Mike [Carrick], Vida [Nemanja Vidic], Chris [Smalling] has been playing really well, Alex [Buttner] just comes in and plays well... everyone knows what he has to do and we did it again."

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