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Van Persie denies Wenger rift after United defeat

Robin van Persie has dismissed talk of a rift with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger following the striker's reaction to the substitution of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain against Manchester United.

Van Persie, a pivotal figure for Arsenal this season as they attempt to qualify for the Champions League, appeared to exclaim "No!" when Wenger replaced Oxlade-Chamberlain with Andrey Arshavin during Sunday's 2-1 defeat.

The decision was hugely unpopular with Arsenal's fans, who roundly jeered Wenger following the move.

Holland striker van Persie however has moved quickly to play down suggestions of a split with Wenger, saying in a statement on his Facebook page on Tuesday that Oxlade-Chamberlain had been replaced because of a calf injury.

"I was not having a go at the boss on Sunday - I was just sad to see Alex leave the pitch as he just gave the assist for our only goal," van Persie said.

"I was not questioning his judgement - I know it's not my place to challenge what Arsene Wenger does. He is the boss, he makes the decisions and that's it, end of story.

"Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain had a calf injury. We did not know that but the boss did and brought Andrey Arshavin on."

Van Persie added: "I have a lot of respect and admiration for Arsene Wenger. He is one of the best football coaches in the world, with a brilliant record of success here at Arsenal. I wouldn't be here or the player I am without him.

"The manager and I are fine and my relationship with the club is good. I don't want anyone misunderstanding the situation here for a moment.

"There is no problem, there is no conflict, and there is no controversy. The boss knows that, I know that, the players all know that.

"But it's important the Arsenal fans know that and that people in the game know that."

Meanwhile goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has called on supporters to trust in Wenger as the club struggle to get their season back on track after three successive league defeats.

"He's done a magnificent job over the 15 years and he's still doing it now," Szczesny said. "So I don't think his position at this club should ever be questioned."

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