David Moyes, the Manchester United manager, admitted yesterday he had not earned the right to have the "Chosen One" banner which bears his image on the Stretford End, as supporters prepared a fly-past of Old Trafford before today's game with Aston Villa with the message "Wrong One – Moyes Out" in protest against it.
Moyes, who was more bullish and far less defensive yesterday than he had been in a prickly press conference preceding the 3-0 midweek defeat to Manchester City, said he had no problem with the club placing the banner there.
"But I've said right from day one here that until I'm successful I've got no need for any banners; no need for anything. When I've won trophies... I can have a banner up there rightly."
Moyes said he was aware of the fly-past protest planned by the Red Issue website five to 10 minutes before kick-off, and that "people are entitled to do that".
But he added that the overwhelming majority of fans were urging him to "come on, keep going".
He implied that those with a deeper comprehension than those sanctioning the flight were taking a longer-term view. "Anyone who has an understanding of the game knows there's a rebuilding plan here," he said.
"It's just going to take a little bit of time to get sorted."
Moyes declared that even Sir Alex Ferguson would have faced difficulties keeping the club within the elite this season, with the current ageing squad.
"I actually think if Sir Alex was here this year it would be difficult (for him) as well and I'm sure he'd be aware of it.
"People are aware there's a squad that is a bit more ageing."
Some of the most trenchant criticism of United's performance against City came from Paul Scholes and Gary Neville, two former players, who were match analysts for Sky Sports.
"I think for me the big thing is we're trying to do exactly what Gary and Paul did," Moyes said of their views on the way United need to play.
"Ideally my style is to introduce young players into the first team, develop the academy – there was a great academy here – but we have to make sure we continue to improve that."
Though the need for squad replenishment and the antiquated player-recruitment systems Ferguson bequeathed are points in Moyes' defence, the loss of tempo and self-belief are less so.
Moyes admitted the pace of United's play was a problem and said that he would seek to coach more tempo into the team.
"We're aware of that and will try to improve that," he said.
"I've been in coaching a long time and I'll try to do everything I can to make that better. Tempo and speed comes from the personnel."
Moyes insisted his employers – and Ferguson – were behind him.
"They saw somebody who could do the job at Manchester United and know what the club is about and the style of the job so you have to trust those people, they trust me and for that reason we'll go on working together."
Though the Football Association is investigating video footage which appeared to show Marouane Fellaini spitting in the direction of Pablo Zabaleta after elbowing him on Tuesday night, Moyes said the Belgian had assured him he was innocent.
"I don't think it's completely conclusive what I'm hearing and seeing. We will work with the FA if that's what we have to do," he said.
Meanwhile Moyes insists he has had no choice but to scale back Adnan Januzaj's playing time in recent weeks.
Januzaj (below) was one of the few to shine during the first half of Moyes' debut season, but he has found himself out of the Manchester United first team of late.
The 19-year-old was an unused substitute against Olympiacos and West Ham while he did not even make the match day squad for Tuesday's Manchester derby.
"Adnan has played an incredible amount of games for a 19-year-old," the United boss said.
"We have to be mindful of that. We have seen signs in training that we have to be careful what we do with him.
"But he is a great talent. He is someone we know will go a long way at United. But we are just being careful with him. We have to do the right things and he has played a lot of football."
Januzaj, who joined from Anderlecht in 2011, signed a new five-year contract at Old Trafford last October.