David Moyes' rotation policy is to blame for Manchester United's poor start to season, says Shakhtar coach
Mircea Lucescu takes aim at the methods of Manchester United manager ahead of Champions League match, saying squad rotation has taken its toll.
Lucescu, who will take charge of his 109th Champions League game when United visit Donetsk on Wednesday night, backed Moyes to overcome his current "difficulties" if given time to impose his methods on the squad.
But with United travelling to Ukraine having lost three of their last four Premier League games, veteran coach Lucescu believes Moyes is grappling with the transitional period at United after succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson this summer.
“There will always be a change of philosophy under a new coach and every coach needs time to work in a proper way,” Lucescu said. “This is why David Moyes is facing difficulties at this stage.
“But we have analysed the United games and of course we noticed there are always changes in the squad, maybe four or five players (each time).
“This rotation means the links between the players can be affected and I think turnover can cause a lot of problems sometimes. We have also discovered that here.
“The other big teams in the English championship, such as Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal, are not rotating the team as much as United and maybe that is a factor.
“We know the work of Mr Moyes from Everton, though, and he is one of the strongest coaches in the Premier League.
“He needs some time to work with his players and let’s hope the team finds a good pattern after tomorrow night.”
Romanian coach Lucescu, the longest-serving manager Shakhtar’s history following his appointment in May 2004, also faced United as Inter Milan coach in 1999, with Ferguson’s team overcoming the Italians on their way to the Treble.
And the 68-year-old admits that United team from 14 years has set a high bar for Moyes to reach with his current squad.
“Fourteen years ago I played against United and Ferguson with Inter Milan and I have good memories of this game,” Lucescu said.
“We scored first and United equalised to go through and the won the Champions League.
“The team then was a machine for winning trophies.They had great players such as Giggs and Beckham and played and won against the likes of Inter, Juventus and Bayern Munich.”
Lucescu admits that the industrial city of Donetsk is desperate to witness United’s visit on Wednesday.
“It will like a cauldron and support will be very important,” Lucescu said. “Champions League games are always a celebration for the city.
“But ever since I have been the coach of Shakhtar, we haven’t faced the four top European teams – Manchester United, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
“We face United tomorrow, so hopefully we have a chance to play against the others in the future.
“We must show a very good performance because they are a very tough opponent.
“We will pick our most experienced players. Maybe tomorrow, both coaches will choose the most experienced players to play.
“We have a different team from last season. It is one thing to lose one player and then lose a group of players, but we have lost a group.
“But we can still show our qualities against United and win.”