Robin Van Persie vented his frustration at Louis Van Gaal for not giving him a chance to prove his fitness during his final season at Old Trafford.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, Van Persie pinpointed the defeat to Chelsea in April as the moment he spied the writing on the wall.
With Man United playing reasonably well but trailing 1-0, Van Persie, just back to fitness after suffering an ankle injury against Swansea in February, was left to stew on the bench for the entirety of the game.
That was one of the first signals things weren’t going in the right direction.
I asked to play in the reserves, to get my minutes, but after was on the bench again. The atmosphere changed between me and Louis and people at the club saw it, but I was always professional. At that point I didn’t think to leave. Bouchra was happy. The kids were happy. I was happy in Manchester.
But when I came back, it wasn’t an honest battle any more. Fighting to get back in the team wasn’t given me as an option. He was sending me to Pitch Two. And I’m a mature player. I’m not stupid. I didn’t get angry or emotional. These things are part of football, part of life. You have to make the best out of any situation so I’m doing this by moving on.
The bulk of the interview involved him rhapsodising about his eleven beautiful seasons in England, recalling his positive relationships with Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson.
He paid particular tribute to his Fergie's magic.
We came from behind that season 26 times. The mental strength was unbelievable. Fergie always made you express yourself. Sometimes he’d come in and say, ‘Boys, where do I start? It’s boring! Imagine me, 72 years old, watching this kind of game?’
He’d say, ‘Excite me. Try a pass over 40 metres. Try a dribble. I don’t care if it goes wrong. I want to sit on the edge of my chair. Please excite me. And make the game quicker, please.’ He was a genius.