It is only a matter of time before Manchester United tighten up their defensive frailties and when that happens Sir Alex Ferguson will once again have a team ready to conquer Europe. Do not rule out that happening this season with football’s greatest ever manager hellbent on crowning his career with victory in the Champions League Final at Wembley in May.

In the meantime, the football world can only marvel at the way the Reds have mastered the art of outscoring their Premier League opponents. The Comeback Kings did it yet again when they celebrated the holiday period with a breathtaking 4-3 Boxing Day triumph despite going behind three times against Newcastle.

Javier Hernandez grabbed the glory when he snatched the dramatic last minute winner at the Theatre of Dreams and the magnificent Mexican is once proving he is one of the world’s great predators in front of goal. But it is RVP who is now the main man at Old Trafford and gone are the days when United were over-reliant on Wayne Rooney.

Do not get me wrong. Rooney is still one of the best players in the world and his value to United is priceless. But it is no longer a crisis when Rooney is injured or off form – as he clearly was at Swansea on Sunday. RVP is a rare talent of a different kind and it is no exaggeration to compare his influence on Ferguson’s team to the effect Eric Cantona had when he famously inspired the first Premier League triumph for the Boss back in the early 90s.

It is no wonder that Fergie reacted so furiously when he saw the Dutchman take that blow from Ashley Williams at the Liberty Stadium. In the week he celebrates his 71st birthday there is clearly a spring in the step of the manager who clearly still has that raging hunger for more trophies. And the reason for that is largely due to the signing he this week described as the “missing link.’

Not only is he the missing link. But as his national manager Louis van Gaal also declared this week that 29-year-old Van Persie “has become an even better player at United.”

The Holland boss declared: “Robin van Persie is getting ­better and better – it’s incredible. He is a super ­professional player who really knows what he wants from his ­career and how he will achieve it. I have never seen any player reach Robin’s age and still improve as a footballer. Moving to United has been good for him – and it has been good for Holland.”

BY JOHN GUBBA

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