'I've made mistakes and I'm disappointed with myself' says David Moyes
Moyes admits United failings as he targets derby salvation
David Moyes has delivered a candid assessment of his failure at Manchester United this season by admitting to being "hurt" and "disappointed with myself" before tonight's derby against Manchester City.
Having overseen back-to-back victories over Olympiakos and West Ham since enduring the humiliation of a 3-0 defeat by Liverpool at Old Trafford nine days ago, Moyes has banished the immediate threat of his position being reviewed by United's owners, the Glazer family.
But with Manuel Pellegrini's team chasing the Premier League title and buoyed by the confidence of victories from their last two visits to Old Trafford, Moyes must summon a rare positive performance against a top-four side from his players to avoid further scrutiny over his long-term prospects as United manager.
Since the start of the campaign, United have won only once and lost seven times against teams in the top nine, and with their miserable season beginning its steep decline with the 4-1 defeat at the Etihad in September, Moyes admitted to being wounded by the many blows he has taken.
"They have definitely hurt," Moyes said. "They have hurt more because I joined Manchester United with big expectations myself – that I was coming to the winning football club.
"I've got a winning mentality and that's what I wanted to do.
"So I'm disappointed with myself and I'm disappointed that we have been unable to do that. But it has not been for the want of trying, that's for sure."
When asked whether he blamed himself for United's decline this season, Moyes conceded that mistakes had been made since he succeeded Alex Ferguson.
But having been criticised for dispensing with Ferguson's established back-room team in favour of his staff from Everton, the manager insisted that the majority of his decisions had been correct.
"Look, it wouldn't be right to say that there are things you wouldn't maybe look at in a different way," Moyes said. "I've looked back at many things and I think most of the things we've carried out, we would continue to do so.
"I move on (after setbacks), but the first thing you always do is look at what you've done yourself and then move on and see if it's something I maybe could have done better.
"We've got a team and a club that's played a part as well. As it has been, we've not had the performances as regular as I wanted and that's where we need to find that consistency. We needed it sooner. We needed to win the games sooner, but in the Champions League for example we've been doing fine."
Moyes claims mitigating factors for United's struggles, again referring to their difficult start to the season – fixtures against Chelsea, Liverpool and City in the opening five games – which, according to the Scot, "hadn't been in the United programme in the 19 years of the Premier League ever".
When asked why opponents such as City, Chelsea and Liverpool had "flooded" United in midfield this season, Moyes said: "At half-time against Liverpool I think they had 240 passes, we had 240 passes; we had 51pc possession, they had 49pc possession. If you actually look back statistically, I don't think we've been absolutely dominated.
"We've lost the games – it depends which way you look at it. If you're going to tell me now that the stats were way in favour of one team I would probably show you that wasn't the case – a lot of them were very, very equal."
With City's midfield proving the dominant force in September's derby at the Etihad, however, Moyes admitted that United must match up in that department to win tonight.
"I take the point that they have got goalscoring midfield players and it's something that is important," Moyes said. "That contributes a lot to your goals. It is an area I was made aware of and that we would try to add to if we could do, but I actually think some of the players who've played there have done a good job."
With United's only significant win coming against Arsenal in November, the visit of City offers Moyes' players their best hope of redemption in the remainder of this season.
"It's important to win all the games," Moyes said. "Big teams or small teams, you want to win them all. But we want to beat the top teams as well as the bottom teams." (© Daily Telegraph, London)