Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has confirmed that Robin van Persie has surrendered his position as the club's first-choice penalty taker after he missed a crucial spot kick in the defeat against West Bromwich Albion over the weekend.
Van Persie stepped up to take the spot kick after Wayne Rooney was relieved of his penalty duties earlier in the season following a miss at Liverpool in March. Van Gaal offered little sympathy for either of his star strikers following their failure to convert from 12 yards.
When asked whether Van Persie would get another chance to take a spot kick in the remaining three games of the season, Van Gaal responded: "No, he is now at the end of the road. It is always like this. Wayne has missed also, so when you miss you are at the bottom [of the list] again."
an Gaal went on to suggest his side's lack of cutting edge in their last three matches is a major concern. Having failed to score a goal in their last three defeats, United's hopes of a top four finish are in peril ahead of next weekend's game against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
"It is a concern because I miss a striker that scores and every striker who scores," Van Gaal continued. "If it's Van Persie or [Radamel] Falcao or Rooney who scores the goal, I'm very happy and the team is very happy. But we are not taking our chances and we have to analyse why this is.
"I see the chances being created. That is not a problem. We have to analyse why we are not taking the opportunities."
Van Gaal is not optimistic that the influential Michael Carrick will be fit in time to return at Palace next Saturday The absence of the injured midfielder has clearly been felt and has stopped United's momentum in its tracks.
"I don't think so," said Van Gaal as he pondered whether Carrick is closing in on a swift return to action. "He is already three weeks out of the team and he has to play then immediately. You have seen what I have done with all the players. They have to play in the second team and to have the match rhythm.
"The possibility for injury is bigger [if players come straight back into the first-team] and you have to take care also as a manager for that. But it's always possible. It's also down to the player. The player has the right to say something about that."