- Erik ten Hag will be feeling slight more comfortable after a strong start to 2024
- Robin van Persie was in the director’s box for Sunday’s big win over West Ham
- Do true fans leave games early? Listen to the It’s All Kicking Off podcast
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag was spotted in some exalted company earlier this week as he went out for dinner with a legend from the club’s recent history in Robin van Persie.
Although United have not lost a game in 2024, there have been a number of off-field issues involving Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford, to name a few, against the backdrop of poor form throughout the campaign.
The United boss, his agent Kees Vos and Van Persie treated themselves to a four-hour dinner at Italian restaurant Cibo in Hale Village.
Erik ten Hag (centre) was spotted leaving an Italian restaurant with Man United legend Robin van Persie (right)
The duo were accompanied by Ten Hag’s agent Kees Vos (left) and were at restaurant Cibo for four hours
It will likely have been a much more positive dinner for the United boss whose side are unbeaten in 2024
Items on the menu at the Italian restaurant include lobster ravioli (£20), Dover Sole (£45), Halibut steak (£30) and grilled veal cutlet (£36).
Van Persie attracted plenty of attention when he made an appearance in the directors’ box at Old Trafford on Sunday.
He was part of the side that sealed their last Premier League title back in 2013, Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season at Old Trafford.
The Dutchman played a crucial role in firing United to the title, and chants from the fans on Sunday showed that they won’t forget Van Persie’s contribution in a hurry.
The trio were spotted leaving the restaurant in good spirits before going their separate ways, with affairs on the field going far better for Ten Hag of late.
Following a first half of the season that left a lot to be desired – to say the least – the Red Devils have seemingly begun to turn things around of late.
Rasmus Hojlund has scored in each of his last four Premier League games, Kobbie Mainoo has emerged as one of the most promising midfielders in recent years at the club, and Alejandro Garnacho has taken his season tally to seven.
Ten Hag’s side have also ensured they will continue in the FA Cup after avoiding a shock upset against Newport County.
Van Persie had attracted plenty of attention in the directors’ box on Sunday when in attendance at Old Trafford
Defender Lisandro Martinez will miss at least up to eight weeks with a knee ligament injury
While Lisandro Martinez’s injury so soon after his return will surely be a concern, Andre Onana’s Cameroon fell early at the Africa Cup of Nations, meaning that Ten Hag has already got his No 1 back.
Martinez had only recently returned from a long-term metatarsal problem when it was confirmed he had sustained a knee injury, Ten Hag saying: ‘It doesn’t look good, so there’s a big concern. We have to wait for the diagnosis, then we can tell you more.
‘He is very sad, very disappointed. We are with him. It’s a personal disaster. He is just returning. He is very important for us. He brings spirit to the team, aside from his football ability. Hopefully it is not too bad, we can only pray.
‘He worked so hard to return and now, after four games, it looks like he has to sit some games out again.’