MANCHESTER, England - Manchester United received another setback yesterday when manager David Moyes revealed that striker Robin van Persie will be out for a month with a thigh injury.
The Dutchman recently returned from a four-game lay-off due to a groin problem, playing in last weekend's 1-0 loss to Newcastle United and the midweek victory over Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.
However, he injured himself as he took the corner that led to Phil Jones's 67th-minute winner against Shakhtar and Moyes expects him to be out of action until next year.
"It is unfortunate because I think if you look at our record with Wayne Rooney and Robin in the team, it is actually very good and we have not had them for quite a period recently," Moyes said.
"Marouane Fellaini has a bit of a back injury. Michael Carrick is missing and Robin is going to miss four weeks with a thigh strain. That is a big blow to us."
United's top scorer last season, van Persie has scored seven goals in 11 league appearances this term.
News of his injury comes as United bid to bounce back from successive home defeats in the league, which have left them 13 points behind leaders Arsenal.
However, while Moyes has several alternatives in the forward positions — notably Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck — Carrick's absence with an Achilles problem leaves him bereft of options in central midfield.
Moyes, whose side visit Aston Villa on Sunday, also moved to quash suggestions that his predecessor Alex Ferguson remains a big influence at the club.
Former United captain Roy Keane believes the former manager, who is now a director at Old Trafford, wants to control the club and still wields a lot of power.
But Moyes insisted that he is the one who gets in touch with Ferguson, rather than the other way round.
"I can only tell you that in my time here Alex has been fantastic and helpful," he said.