Sunday 18 March 2018

Moyes annoyed by unfair United criticism

David Moyes was relieved as Manchester United got back to winning ways against Liverpool
David Moyes was relieved as Manchester United got back to winning ways against Liverpool

Simon Stone

Manchester United manager David Moyes has no problem with justified criticism - but he does feel some of the flak his team has received this season was undeserved.

After a tough week, in which United have mixed the emotional high of beating Liverpool 1-0 with the shattering low of losing 4-1 to Manchester City, Moyes sends his team into combat with West Brom on Saturday, the start of a winnable sequence of fixtures that should establish them back amongst the Barclays Premier League front-runners.

Though Moyes would doubtless argue there is no such thing as an easy game, he cannot be expecting the same screaming headlines and forensic analysis that accompanied that catastrophic defeat at the Etihad Stadium.

That, using Moyes' own terminology, was one of those days when it is best to close the curtains and pull a blanket over your head; when all the brickbats hurled in United's direction were warranted.

However, there have been occasions this season when he did not feel the condemnation was fair.

"If people judge me at Manchester United on how we do I can't argue," he said.

"If criticism is for the team not playing well, like we did at Manchester City, it is totally deserved.

"But in some cases we have done okay this year and people have chosen to do that. They tell me that is a trait at Manchester United."

'They' in this case may well be Sir Alex Ferguson, who had a less than positive view of the people paid to pass judgement on United's performances.

On some occasion though, there can be no dispute. And Sunday was one of them.

"It didn't feel good after we lost to Manchester City," said Moyes.

"You wouldn't expect me to feel good and I don't think anyone would want me to feel good either after the way we played.

"There was a level from Manchester City that I hadn't seen. I don't think many people had.

"That is no reason. On the day we had too many players who had a complete off day. Because of that it gave us no chance of winning."

And that feeling of desolation gets no better with age, even if the recovery period is somewhat shorter.

"I am quite experienced in the Premier League," said Moyes.

"I have managed a lot of games in my time.

"As you get older you understand how bad it feels when you lose a game.

"You go home and pull the curtains and put the blankets over your head. You don't want to come out.

"By the time the next morning comes you know you have to get back on the training field, doing the work and preparing for the next game."

United got the recovery process started through Javier Hernandez's matchwinner on Wednesday.

It is clear though, the entire operation Moyes has been brought in to complete is going to take some considerable time.

Indeed, it reminds him of the position he found himself in at Everton upon his arrival from Preston 11 years ago.

"I really feel as if I am going back 10 years," he said.

"I can remember when I first took the Everton job, it was difficult.

"I had a really senior group of players. I knew I was going to have to change the squad round and it was going to take me time.

"How was I going to win games whilst I was changing it round? How were people going to see that it was going in the right direction?

"I might be talking about the same thing now really.

"You can never ask for time, especially now.

"You just hope people who understand football understand the job and what it takes and the person I am following here. That wouldn't have been easy for anyone."

Moyes should be boosted by the return of Robin van Persie, who has recovered from a groin injury that has kept him out of United's last two games.

In addition, England midfielder Tom Cleverley is back after suffering a knee injury in training prior to the Liverpool encounter.

Wilfried Zaha will have to be patient as he waits for his chance to shine at Manchester United.

Zaha may have a couple of England caps already but reputation alone has not been enough to squeeze the 20-year-old into the United side yet.

Although he started the Community Shield defeat of Wigan at Wembley last month, Zaha has not figured in a competitive game for the Red Devils and was left kicking his heels on the bench in midweek as Moyes' team overcame Liverpool in a Capital One Cup third round tie.

The new United boss decided early on he wanted to keep Zaha at Old Trafford, rather than loan him out somewhere so the former Crystal Palace man got a good idea of the standard now required of him.

Beyond that, he will just have to wait.

"Wilf is one of the boys we have not been able to have a look at so far," said Moyes.

"We always said we wanted him in. We needed him to see exactly what the level is like and the boy is doing well.

"But Premier League games are important. We have to win them. So whilst there will be some players who get the opportunities sooner rather than later some will have to wait their time because it is a fact you can only play 11."

Zaha may hope to get some exposure this week when Premier League games against West Brom and Sunderland bookend a potentially draining trip to Ukraine for a Champions League encounter with Shakhtar Donetsk.

Adnan Januzaj, who made his third substitute appearance of the season in Wednesday's win over Liverpool, does seem to be slightly further on in his attempt to win Moyes' faith.

However, there is a more pressing issue around the 18-year-old given his contract is due to expire next summer.

"As far as I know, things are moving along," said Moyes over discussions on a new deal for the youngster.

"As soon as we get the news, we will give it to you."

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