Sport Soccer

Monday 11 December 2017

Moyes' first task is to win confidence of United players – Owen

Michael Owen
Michael Owen
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

MICHAEL OWEN believes that new Manchester United manager David Moyes' main focus should be on winning over his current squad rather than trying to improve it.

The now retired former Red Devils striker believes that Moyes inherited the strongest squad in the Premier League when he replaced Alex Ferguson at the helm at Old Trafford.

However, he warned that the former Everton manager's main challenge will be winning the players over and maintaining their focus ahead of the new season.

"There is no doubt that he will bring in one or two players, but if I was a Manchester United fan I'd be more interested in seeing how he settles in as manager," Owen said.

"How he and his coaches settle is hugely important because they are the people who work with the players day-to-day.

"There is nothing wrong at Manchester United at the minute – it's just evolving really. I think everyone should be more conscious of David Moyes taking to it and his ideas being accepted. That's his main challenge.

"Yes, they will probably buy one or two players but I think it's more important for some of the other teams to buy really well – the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal in particular.

"I think new signings are the key to their prospects whereas I think the key to United's season is the new manager as opposed to who he signs."

Owen (below), who also played for Liverpool and Real Madrid, believes that next season's Premier League is too close to call as a summer of unprecedented change continues apace.

And, while he agrees that the new Red Devils boss should be targeting the title, he reckons that the club hierarchy will be patient if he doesn't deliver instant success.

"I think he will be given loads of time and support. Alex coming out on the last day of the season, when he was on the pitch, saying 'It's your job to get behind that new manager' – that will resonate with the fans. They will really give him a good backing.

"United need to be up there, but if they fall short I'm sure they will give the new manager plenty of time."

Another of Owen's former clubs with a big summer ahead is Liverpool and he believes that they need to find out Luis Suarez's intentions as soon as possible.

Brendan Rodgers' star man has made a number of public comments about wanting out of Anfield, but Owen is sceptical of whether he really wants to leave.


"Luis is such a key player for them and I am sure they are desperate to keep him," said Owen, who will act as a pundit for BT Sport next season.

"Himself and (Pepe) Reina are the question marks at Anfield, whether they are staying or going.

"If they're going, you'd hope they club are finding replacements quickly because they can't afford the same situation as last season when they moved Andy Carroll out.

"Liverpool can't afford to be losing players of that calibre. They need to add players to what they've got, not lose them.

"Some players if they don't want to be there, you can almost see it in their body language. But he (Suarez) looks to me like he has got better and better since he's been at Liverpool. It looks to me like he doesn't want to leave."

Michael Owen was speaking at Setanta Sports'announcement that they will add the new BT Sport channels and ESPN to their package from August 1. The deal will see Setanta show 38 Premier League games live next season as well as 30 in the SPL and 25 in the FA Cup in addition to matches from the Bundesliga, Italian Serie A and French Ligue 1.

Irish Independent

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