David Moyes has admitted that his starting XI isn’t as strong as he wants it to be this year after what happened on transfer deadline day and that he expects to ‘take a few more blows’ in his first season as Manchester United manager.
In a candid pre-match press conference ahead of the Liverpool game, Moyes was very open about the Manchester City defeat and the issues he had surrounding it.
“I think a lot of people thought Manchester United [winning the title] last season, that it was probably the form of the other teams that was poor,” he said.
“I think it’s important that I took the punches. I’ve taken the punches and I’m happy to do that. Not for a minute did I think this Manchester United job was going to be an easy job. There will be days like we had on Sunday and there might be more of them because we are in a period where there will be transition, there’s a new manager for the players and, in turn, there will be new players.
“It’s not necessarily the squad players we needed, we needed one or two who might have gone in [to the team].”
“I don’t think it’s actually the squad, I think we’ve got numbers. I think maybe we’ve got work to do to bring in players not for the squad but to go right into the team. It’s not necessarily the squad players we needed, we needed one or two who might have gone in [to the team]. That will happen. But going back to that transfer window, we always said it was going to be a tough one and it was going to take a little bit more time.
“It does mean I may have to take a few more blows, definitely. Maybe even more than that. Maybe all season I have to take a few blows but I knew this was going to be the case because I was taking over from a great manager and it was always going to take time for me to get my own ways and change things round a little bit.”
United’s squad has never been the problem with our attack and defence being up there with the best in the league, but the midfield still remains a big issue. City exposed that on Sunday and unfortunately over the course of the season, there will be other times where it happens again.
Prior to the City defeat, Moyes hadn’t planned to hold a pre-match press conference ahead of the Liverpool game but he arranged one so as to face the music straight away.
“You just hope there will be a reaction and I’m sure there will be. When you’ve got the players we have, I can see it written all over their faces how they feel.”
It is the right sort of attitude to face your problems straight on, so it was encouraging to see Moyes do that from the very start.
“I think the team has played well [overall],” Moyes continued.
“If you were being really fair you’d have to say that Manchester United have played well, but that [City] was a poor performance, really. We have not played badly except at Manchester City.
“We looked quite easy to play against, which is not the norm for Manchester United. I think the one thing here is that any team should always have a hard game against Manchester United. But I thought we were just too easy to play against. It was the basics. I hadn’t seen that before. I also have to say I hadn’t seen that level of performance from Manchester City either. But I hadn’t seen that poor a performance from us, so there was quite a contrast.”
“I’m not daft. I know we were in real danger at that moment. I took a little bit [of encouragement] that we tried to make sure nothing went any further because at that time it could have. But, by that time, Manchester City knew they didn’t have to do any more, so I’m also aware of that.
“You just hope there will be a reaction and I’m sure there will be. When you’ve got the players we have, I can see it written all over their faces how they feel.
“It doesn’t really matter whether I have seen a reaction [in training]. The reaction has to be seen when you people [media and public] can see it. I’m still getting to know all the players here. I’ll get a chance to know more of them this week, and hopefully they will show what they can do.”
Moyes’ open approach is refreshing. He has faced up to the issues that have arisen following the City game on Sunday and taken them head on, something that should rub off onto the players.
This year was always going to be turbulent. No club can have that amount of transition and not have bumps along the way but the test now facing Moyes is trying to get the best he can out of the team during that time.