Moyes: United must forget Bayern
Published 04/04/2014 | 17:57
Manager David Moyes insists Manchester United will not be thinking about their crunch clash with Bayern Munich when they line up against Newcastle on Saturday.
United gave themselves a fighting chance of making the Champions League semi-finals when they drew 1-1 against the European champions on Tuesday.
Given that United are almost certainly guaranteed to finish outside the top four, their Premier League match with Newcastle seems to be something of an irrelevance, but Moyes says his players must not be distracted by thoughts of next Wednesday's second leg in Germany.
"The only thing we are thinking about is the Newcastle game," the United manager told a press conference.
"The focus is all on Newcastle. We have to go up there, try to put on a good performance, pick three points up and keep trying to build up some momentum towards the end of the season."
Given the importance of the second leg in Munich, Moyes is likely to rest a few of his players in Newcastle this weekend.
Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic started at Old Trafford on Tuesday, but they could be replaced by Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans, who have been out for one and two months respectively.
"We have got Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling back in training, that helps us," Moyes added.
"We have missed them through what has arguably been one of the most difficult times of the season for us.
"We could have done with their youth and enthusiasm."
Ryan Giggs looks set to miss the trip to the north-east because of an injury he suffered against Bayern, but left-back Alex Buttner has recovered well from the hamstring problem he sustained versus the Germans.
Moyes added: "Ryan Giggs picked up a wee bit of an injury in the game and we are not quite so worried about Alex Buttner. He is not as bad as when he first came off."
Rafael also missed Tuesday's draw against Bayern with a thigh problem and could be rested ahead of the second leg.
Although Moyes was keen to focus on the trip to Newcastle, he could not help but look back fondly on the Bayern game - a night where his team restored some confidence following what has been a woeful season.
Moyes knows his team must work hard to make it through to the semi-finals, but he was glad to put a smile back on the faces of the United fans who have suffered this year.
"It was a terrific performance from the players and an all-round really good night at Old Trafford," Moyes said.
"It was a special night as far as I am concerned, maybe one of the best ever games I have been involved in with football because of the atmosphere, the crowd and the standard of the opposition. But more importantly, because of the performance the players put in.
"I thought they played really well, so it was a good night. I was a bit disappointed with the result, but overall there were a lot of good things to take from it."
Newcastle secured their first victory at Old Trafford since 1972 on December 7 last year, and a home win at St James' Park this weekend would complete a first league double since 1931.
That would represent a major achievement with midfielder Moussa Sissoko having joined Tim Krul, Mathieu Debuchy and Loic Remy on the injured list.
A Magpies win would do little to ease Moyes' woes, and Pardew admits the pressure on managers has grown substantially during his time in the game.
He said: "There's a lot more of a lack of respect for the manager and his abilities, because it's a very, very difficult job.
"The nature of it is one week, we are geniuses, the next week, we haven't got a clue.
"Of course, it's more than that. There is a competence about what we do and the pressure on that result makes it very difficult."