"People want to come and see us at the highest level because we can play fantastic football, and that is a big step for us because last year everyone was quite sceptical.
"So that is the trophy we have won this year - respect and lots of it.
"It is a big, big compliment for the whole squad because everyone has really given it a go.
"Many teams these days are so negative - they are scared that they do not have the quality, but we aren't, no matter who we are playing."
Van Persie added: "Neutral people are honest, they don't have an agenda and they want to see good football. So it is the biggest compliment you can get from anyone, and this is what we play for.
"But now it's up to us to keep that safe and add to it with real trophies."