David Moyes plans sun escape to avoid heat at United
David Moyes is planning a Middle East training break for his players to escape the pressure of Manchester United's escalating crisis with the manager expected to be charged by the FA today following an outburst against match officials.
Moyes, whose team go into Saturday's Premier League fixture at home to Swansea City aiming to avoid a fourth successive defeat, has identified the weekend of the FA Cup fourth round later this month as a potential window to take the squad away from Manchester for warm-weather training. The favoured destination is understood to be the Aspire facility in Qatar.
United have twice visited Qatar for midwinter breaks in recent seasons and, after they suffered an FA Cup third-round exit against Swansea last Sunday, the club are investigating the possibility of a four-day break between the League Cup second leg against Sunderland on January 22 and the league game at home to Cardiff City six days later.
There is also the prospect of United bringing the trip forward to next week, enabling Moyes and his players to prepare for the game at Chelsea on January 19 away from the scrutiny of their dismal recent run.
Moyes, who is considering a renewed move for Real Madrid left-back Fabio Coentrao following information that the player is keen to sign for United, is likely to be the subject of English FA action today. The association's disciplinary unit is investigating his remarks following Tuesday's 2-1 League Cup semi-final first-leg defeat against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
The Scot claimed United "are having to play the opposition and the officials" after seeing Sunderland secure victory courtesy of a controversial penalty.
Referee Andre Marriner pointed to the spot after the intervention of linesman Peter Bankes, who raised his flag after Sunderland winger Adam Johnson went to ground in the wake of a challenge by United midfielder Tom Cleverley. There appeared to be little, if any, contact from Cleverley, prompting an irate Moyes to condemn the decision.
"Maybe I have got to understand that's what happens at Manchester United," Moyes said. "They are certainly not giving us much at this moment in time.
"For the penalty, the linesman gives it, but he can't see through Patrice Evra. The referee is looking right at it and is in a very good position -- not too close, not too far away, but he turns around. The linesman gives it."
If the FA deem that Moyes' comments have cast doubt over the integrity of the match officials, the United manager will be charged and probably fined, rather than handed a touchline suspension, should he plead guilty.
The FA has already contacted Sunderland and United to seek observations over the throwing of at least two pyrotechnic flares from the enclosure holding approximately 6,000 visiting supporters at the Stadium of Light.
(© Daily Telegraph, London)