Van Persie struck in the final minute to seal a 2-0 win for West Brom before lifting his shirt to reveal the message: `rip tchuna we will never forget you`.
It was confirmed the message related to a close friend of the Dutchman, who died last night.
Not that it stopped the eulogies to a man Sir Alex Ferguson has already said represents the final piece of his jigsaw and whom was required to settle a few nerves after initially starting on the substitutes' bench.
"He is a fantastic player," said Ferguson.
"He came on and changed the game for us.
"Every time the ball came up to him he got hold of it and turned on them.
"They were having to go back to their box all the time and he has done well."
Van Persie's superb curling effort kept United seven points clear of Manchester City and earned maximum points from a fixture that did not turn into the cruise expected after Gareth McAuley's early own goal, which Ashley Young insisted he was going to try and claim despite his part clearly being a cross.
- Sports & Recreation
- Sir Alex Ferguson
- West Brom