David Moyes ready for more knock-downs as he beds in as Manchester United's new manager
David Moyes believes Manchester United may suffer more defeats like the 4-1 thrashing by Manchester City and that he will continue “to take the punches” as he changes a team in “transition”.
Manchester United’s manager reiterated the need for “one or two” new players “to go right into the team’’.
United face Liverpool in the Capital One Cup at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening with Robin van Persie still missing with a groin strain and some youngsters may feature.
The initial indication on Tuesday was that Moyes’s assistant, Steve Round, would conduct the pre-match media duties at Carrington but the manager decided it was important to front up after Sunday’s defeat.
“It does mean I may have to take a few more blows, definitely, maybe even more than that,’’ Moyes said.
“It’s important that I took the punches and keep taking the punches and I’m happy to do that.
"Not for a minute did I think this Manchester United job was going to be an easy job. I know there will be days like we had on Sunday and there might be more of them because we are in a period where there will be a transition, there’s a new manager for the players, and in turn there will be new players as well at different times, so obviously that will happen.
“When you are a football manager for the length of time I’ve been, you are always going to have shocks. I’ve had lots. I’ve no doubt there will be more in the future.
"I’m going to have to take a few on the chin. Any manager who is in a situation where they lose a game will tell you that it’s never a nice place to be when you’ve been well beaten, which we were. So you’re never comfortable, especially in a derby game as well. It wasn’t great, that’s for sure.
“It might be all season I have to take a few blows but I knew this was going to be the case because I was taking over from a great manager and it was always going to take time for me to get my own ways and change things round a little bit.
"It doesn’t need big jobs changed but there will be some things. A lot of people thought with Manchester United [winning the league] last season it was probably the form of other teams that was poor.’’
Few would argue with Moyes’s perspective on the title race. United’s main rivals, City, certainly faltered. This was not one of United’s greatest title-winning squads. Moyes acknowledged strengthening was required.
“I don’t think it’s actually the squad,’’ he said. “We’ve got numbers. Maybe what we’ll be looking to do is bring players in not for the squad but to go right into the team so that’s the slightly different equation.
"It’s not necessarily the squad players we needed. We needed one or two who might have just gone in [to the team]. But that will happen. But going back to that transfer window, we always said it was going to be a tough one and it was going to take a little bit more time.”
United were disappointed that Leighton Baines did not submit a transfer bid and they withdrew from buying Ander Herrera. Cesc Fabregas proved too embedded at Barcelona while Moyes refused to comment on the claim by Florentino Pérez, Real Madrid’s president, that the English champions bid for Gareth Bale.
United are already focusing on recruiting a centre-half, a left-back and a central-midfielder in either the January transfer window or, more likely, next summer.
Moyes does expect a strong reaction from his team on Wednesday night.
“When you’ve got the players we’ve got I can see it’s written all over their face how they feel,’’ Moyes said. “You know and hope there will be a reaction. I’m sure there will be.’’
United’s manager defended the team’s record this season.
“We’ve only had one [bad game] really,’’ he said. “The team has played well in the games. If you were being really fair you you’d have to say that Manchester United have actually played well in the games but that was the poor performance really. We could maybe have played a little bit better at Liverpool and got a goal or two but we have not played badly, except at Manchester City.’’
He agreed that his players failed to do the basics against City, particularly the marking.
“In the games where we’d played really well I hadn’t seen that. I’ve also got to say I hadn’t seen that level of performance from Manchester City either. We looked quite easy to play against which is not the norm for Manchester United.”
Moyes took some reassurance that his team did not totally fold at 4-0 down after 50 minutes.
“I took a little bit that we tried to make sure nothing else went any further because at that time it could have. I’m not daft. I know we were in real danger at that moment but by that time Manchester City knew they didn’t need to do any more either.’’
As for what it would “mean” to the game if Luis Suárez starts after suspension, Moyes replied:
“It means Liverpool have a really good player. I know the qualities of Luis Suárez are very good.’’
Van Persie, who has a slight groin problem, would not be involved, Moyes claimed.
“He will have an outside chance for Saturday [at home against West Bromwich Albion].”
Moyes also confirmed that Michael Carrick “wasn’t well” before Sunday’s match.
The United manager has to balance the need for a confidence-restoring victory against the usual habit of introducing some fringe players.
“We’ve got one or two young players that we’d like to be involved,’’ he said.
A final question to Moyes, about Ashley Young’s form, was interrupted by United’s press officer, declaring: “Got to go.”