RvP searching for more goals
Mark Hudson, Craig Bellamy, Joe Mason and Kim Bo-Kyung were on target as Cardiff moved four points clear at the top of the Championship table after a 4-1 win at Blackburn on Friday night.
Having earlier collected a fifth booking of the season to rule himself out of City's next game against Peterborough, captain Hudson headed the visitors into a 30th minute lead from Craig Noone's cross.
Bellamy, who counts Rovers among his vast collection of former clubs, struck the crossbar towards the end of a first half where Blackburn produced a woeful 45 minutes - a worryingly familiar theme of their recent outings.
One of Rovers' few bright sparks, on-loan Manchester United forward Josh King, brought them level in the 51st minute, only for Bellamy to restore Cardiff's advantage four minutes later.
Substitutes Mason and Kim completed Blackburn's misery, leaving Henning Berg to survey a fourth defeat from eight games in charge that leaves his side 15 points behind the leaders after 21 games and, perhaps more significantly, four shy of the play-off places ahead of the weekend fixtures.
The visitors started the brighter and after Jason Lowe's yellow-card challenge on Bellamy in the 29th minute and an associated bout of handbags, Peter Whittingham punted the resulting free-kick hopefully forward. Rovers could only clear as far as Noone and his left-footed delivery from the right was planted past Paul Robinson by Hudson.
As Rovers pressed forward, Bellamy raced clear of a vacant backline and clipped against the bar.
Kazim-Richards was introduced for Markus Olsson as Berg looked to spark fresh impetus at the break and the change proved to be inspiredas the Turkey international controlled a Rhodes' flick on and released King to slot under onrushing Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall.
Moments later Kazim-Richards saw a rasping 20-yard effort deflected behind, but no sooner had Blackburn briefly assumed the ascendancy they were behind once more.
Again a long, hopeful free-kick was not dealt with and Bellamy finished emphatically after cleverly exchanging headers with Helguson.
In the 63rd minute Mauro Formica spurned a glorious opportunity for a second equaliser. Marshall saved magnificently after Etuhu's shot deflected off King's back but, when Rhodes selflessly cut the loose ball across, the Argentinian attacker should have done far better than to blaze against the top of the bar with the goal at his mercy.
Bellamy departed to applause from all sides of the ground and replacement Mason made the points safe six minutes from time, catching Grant Hanley flat-footed to slip Helguson's header on beyond Robinson.
Fellow replacement Kim then got in on the act, sweeping home Helguson's return ball after capitalising on a terrible pass from Scott Dann that served to sum up Blackburn's evening.
Van Persie has scored 13 goals in his first 19 United appearances and is clearly the man Manchester City must watch in Sunday's blockbuster showdown at the Etihad Stadium.
However, the Dutchman still believes he has plenty of improvement to make, which could be bad news for Roberto Mancini and his men.
"When you are wanted by everyone it gives you wings," Van Persie told MUTV.
"I am happy here and everyone looks very happy to have me here.
"But I am not satisfied. If you look at the stats, 13 goals in 19 games, it is OK.
"But I want better and more. I want more goals, more assists.
"I want to go for everything that it is possible this year."
United head to the Etihad Stadium three points clear of City, but with an inferior goal difference.
As Sir Alex Ferguson noted a few weeks ago, it means United must be doing something right given the criticism heaped on them for what, at times, even their manager admitted has been shambolic defending.
"I do (accept United have not been playing at their best)," said Van Persie.
"But I just come back to the winning part.
"We have been winning. We are first in the league, first in the Champions League.
"Everyone would have signed for that a couple of months ago. Up to now we can accept it. It is good.
"Now we have to improve. If you just take away a couple of the goals we gave away in away games, we would have made life easier for ourselves."
Yet Van Persie has no doubts who deserves the credit for steering United into their present lofty position.
When he quit Arsenal in a ?24million deal last summer, Van Persie cited the chance to work with Ferguson as one of the major attractions.
He has not been left disappointed.
"The way he gets us ready for the games is different class," said Van Persie.
"Those speeches are very important for every single one of us. The things he says, when he says them, before the match, during the match and after it.
"It is very direct. It is all spot on and very honest.
"I love that. We Dutch people like to be straight and honest and he tells you how it is.
"If it is good, it is good. If it is not good enough he will tell you, so you have to improve straight away.
"That is what I like. No one can play 10 games and play well in all 10. You always have a couple of games where it is not going so well. You have to deal with that."