Jonny Evans: We didn't apply ourselves properly against City
Jonny Evans has known the atmosphere at Manchester United's training ground to be worse than it was at start of this week.
United emerged from a difficult few days by claiming a much-needed victory against Liverpool at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.
Whilst booking a Capital One Cup fourth-round encounter with Norwich is not expected to be high on the list of David Moyes' achievements in his debut campaign as Red Devils chief, at the present time, Javier Hernandez's solitary goal was significant.
For without it, Moyes would have been facing yet more questions over his suitability for the onerous task of replacing the man whose name adorns the stand his dug-out faces and whose image is cast in a statue outside the ground.
Yet even in the eye of the storm that raged following Sunday's 4-1 hammering at Manchester City, Moyes still kept doing the right things.
He fronted up to the media on Tuesday, when it would have been far easier to send someone else to speak on his behalf.
And he managed to stop a cloud of gloom descending on what is officially known as the Aon Training Complex, but fans and players continue to refer as Carrington.
"I have been on the training ground where the atmosphere has been worse than it was when we came in the day after the game," said Evans.
"We had no complaints at the weekend.
"Everyone was honest in their assessment that we didn't apply ourselves the way we should have.
"It is hard for the fans, the players and the manager as well. We just had to move on from it quickly."
It cannot have escaped Moyes' notice United benefited from the eight changes made to the team that lost at Manchester City.
Almost all the new faces, Evans and Hernandez included, were making rare appearances after Moyes opted to stick largely with the same group of players for those testing opening five Premier League matches.
In hindsight, it looks like a flawed, if understandable move, which might well have been avoided.
Had either Mike Phelan or Rene Meulensteen from Ferguson's backroom team been retained, they might have been able to caution against asking Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic to push themselves through three games in a week.
The players themselves would argue otherwise but the evidence of the past week, and Ferguson's selection policy dating back to 2010, indicates the pair can no longer do it.
A lack of summer reinforcements beyond Marouane Fellaini may become an issue as the season progresses, whilst circumstance dictated Wilfried Zaha remained on the bench last night when, in less fraught circumstances, it was an ideal chance for a youngster - who nevertheless has appeared for England at senior level - to gain some valuable experience.
Yet Moyes would counter that some of the selection problems are not of his making.
The clamour for Shinji Kagawa's inclusion has been growing steadily, whilst Hernandez had been restricted to a sum total of just 34 minutes' action prior to last night's game.
There is, apparently, no coincidence the pair were on Confederations Cup duty for Japan and Mexico this summer, and have since been required to play in two lots of international matches.
"The start we had meant I felt we had to get a settled group of players for the opening five or six games," said Moyes.
"As well as that we were still trying to bring some players back from international duty who came back, went away again, came back and went away again.
"It was difficult to get them in the right condition all at the same time."
Moyes may have reservations about individuals within the squad he has inherited.
Nevertheless, he might also remind himself that someone like Evans has won as many Premier League titles as Frank Lampard and John Terry and can be trusted to get the job done, particularly against lesser teams, rather than being completely inactive, as has been the case with the Northern Ireland star.
"That was my first start of the season and it was a tough game to come into," said Evans.
"When you have Sturridge and Suarez up front you are never going to have an easy evening.
"But we defended every set piece well and were blocking shots.
"It is what you need in games like that."