Manchester United striker Robin van Persie believes manager David Moyes must be given time to sort out the club's problems after a difficult start to the season.
United are seventh in the table with little chance of retaining their Premier League title and went out of the FA Cup at their first hurdle after an erratic beginning under Moyes, who replaced Alex Ferguson in the close season.
"Moyes needs time, he's new," Netherlands international Van Persie was quoted as saying on the BBC on Thursday. "The manager is our leading man and he will change things around."
Van Persie, who joined United from Arsenal for 24 million pounds ($39.23 million) in 2012 and spearheaded their title success last season, has missed much of the current campaign through injury to add to the club's difficulties.
They visit Chelsea on Sunday knowing a defeat could leave them 14 points adrift of leaders Arsenal, who host struggling Fulham on Saturday, which is a remarkable turnaround from last term when United romped to a 20th domestic title by 11 points.
That success was the final act in Ferguson's trophy-laden reign before the gauntlet was passed to fellow Scot Moyes, who did not win any silverware in 11 years in charge of Everton.
"We lost too many points this year, but we are doing everything we can to change that," Van Persie added.
($1 = 0.6119 British pounds)
(Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Ken Ferris)