Chris Smalling hails the impact of Robin van Persie at Manchester United

Robin van Persie celebrates his 15th goal for Manchester United

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Chris Smalling is amazed at the speed Robin van Persie has adapted to life at Manchester United.

Van Persie scored his 15th goal of the season - in just 21 games - in Saturday's 3-1 victory over Sunderland.

It means Van Persie - who moved to Old Trafford from Arsenal in the summer - has now scored an incredible 60 times in his last 72 Premier League games.

He did not even spend his pre-season with his new-team mates, arriving just before the window closed.

"I saw the finish," said defender Smalling. "It wasn't easy to put it in that top corner but he is a quality player.

"Obviously he only came in the summer and didn't have much of a pre-season. But he came straight into the matches and has been such a threat.

"He is putting teams on the back foot and making our job easier at the back."

Boss Sir Alex Ferguson had nothing but praise for the Dutchman, saying: "He has a fantastic record.

"What you are seeing is a player who has come to his mature years. Experience is counting for him now. He has the knowledge and ability and last season his form was terrific.

"Even Arsenal, having had him for a few years, were realising what his best position is. We do the same."