David Moyes laments team's 'school-boy error' in Munich
David Moyes claimed his Manchester United players committed the “crime” of schoolboy defending as Bayern Munich fought back from a goal down in the Allianz Arena to banish the fallen Premier League champions from the Champions League.
Having taken a second-half lead through Patrice Evra to go 2-1 ahead on aggregate in this quarter-final second leg, United saw their advantage wiped out within 73 seconds – 22 seconds after the restart – when Mario Mandzukic headed the European champions level.
A further goal from Thomas Müller and a stunning solo strike by Arjen Robben completed Bayern Munich’s 3-1 victory and left United contemplating when they would return to the Champions League with Moyes’s team languishing in seventh position in the Premier League.
Moyes, however, blamed poor defending and missed chances for his team’s exit at the last-eight stage.
“I thought the players did a great job tonight, but the only crime was conceding a goal after we had scored within 30 seconds,” Moyes said. “That was the biggest crime. We had to play against the holders of the competition and for long periods we made it difficult for them. In the end we just couldn’t quite keep it going.
“From the kick-off, Bayern went up the pitch and scored, but we needed five or 10 minutes to compose ourselves. It was just a couple of small errors that cost us in the end.
“The players were possibly [caught in the euphoria of scoring], but I do also think that I have a team full of experienced players and it is the sort of the thing you learn as a schoolboy that, once you score a goal, you make sure you don’t concede and be in your position and do your job.
“We had concentrated so fabulously well throughout the game. The players had done well tactically, but for us to give it up, or rather the goal, at that moment was really disappointing.”
With Wayne Rooney spurning two good chances to score, following on from Danny Welbeck’s costly miss in the first-half, Moyes conceded that United’s poor finishing also contributed to their elimination.
“We had a great chance at 1-1 to go 2-1 up,” he said. “We have had opportunities. We have to be fair because Munich are a good team and we had to defend really well, but we did create opportunities to score, probably more so than we did even in the first game. I am disappointed we didn’t take those chances. We had three or four good opportunities, but in the end we just couldn’t quite get it.”
Rooney’s misses were the downside of a committed performance by the England player, who completed the 90 minutes despite a pre-match painkilling injection in a toe injury. And Moyes left himself open to criticism after he allowed the 28-year-old to see the game out by admitting he was not fit enough to kick the ball properly. “I was concerned that Wayne had not trained all week and he had taken an injection. At times it looked like it was a struggle striking the ball on a couple of occasions.
“But he is so vital a player to us. He is so important, especially with Robin van Persie out just now. He had a couple of opportunities but couldn’t quite take them.”
United’s exit from the competition ensures that, barring a miraculous climb to fourth place over the final month of the domestic campaign, the club will be absent from the Champions League next season for first time since 1995. And the United midfielder Michael Carrick claims the club only has itself to blame by suggesting the team has been weak throughout this campaign.
“It was always going to be tough tonight and we’re not in the Champions League next season, not necessarily because of tonight, but because we have been weak and haven’t been good enough over the season,” Carrick said.
“We need to finish the season as best we can and get ready for next season and come back believing we can win the title and qualify for the Champions League next season.
“It’s bitterly disappointing. We put ourselves in a great position after scoring the first goal, but it was a big blow to concede again after 22 seconds. Wayne had a great chance to score again later on and it didn’t go for us.
“The high of scoring and conceding is a blow, but it is something we had to deal with and we were still well in the game, but the second goal was the killer.”