Belfast Telegraph

Manchester United manager David Moyes

By Simon Stone

David Moyes expects to suffer a few more hefty blows as Manchester United manager but he insists he will eventually be a success at Old Trafford.

Moyes has admitted at the dawn of 2013 not even he would have dreamt of being United boss.

The Scot was amongst the majority who felt Sir Alex Ferguson was destined to spend at least one additional season in the Red Devils hotseat.

It was a phone call from Ferguson when Moyes was on a shopping trip with his wife that famously turned his life upside down, pitching him onto a violent rollercoaster ride that has taken some getting used to.

Moyes has already been battered in the wake of defeats to Liverpool and Manchester City, then floored again when United lost to Everton and Newcastle on home soil in the space of just four days.

And whilst six wins on the trot have been an impressive response, Moyes is not naive enough to feel his troubles are over.

"A year ago, I could not have envisaged this situation. I could not even have envisaged Manchester United having a new manager," said Moyes.

"I am relatively pleased at how we have settled in.

"There are still going to be lots of times when I get a bloody nose.

"I will have to take that. But we will get there, I have no doubt about that."

As the best Moyes managed during his time at Everton was five wins on the bounce in all competitions, beating Norwich at Carrow Road last Saturday represented something of a milestone.

Yet such is the magnitude of the club he is now in charge of that the achievement has virtually gone unnoticed.

Moyes understands that, even if it was nice to be told.

"To win six games in a row would be well received anywhere at any time," he said.

"At Manchester United it is the norm. I totally understand that. That is why I am not getting carried away.

"But it does get missed sometimes because people expect Manchester United to win all those games. It is nice to get a question about it."

Tottenham's visit to Old Trafford offers the chance of another personal landmark given the longest winning sequence of Moyes' entire managerial career was the seven he managed at Preston in 1999.

United will not have Robin van Persie back though as the Dutchman is still to fully recover from a thigh injury that has forced him out of the last five games.

In addition, Wayne Rooney has not returned to training after missing the Norwich win with a groin strain, meaning Moyes' resources are once again likely to be depleted.

Little wonder talk among United fans tends to centre around a top four spot being the realistic aim for their club, even though it would represent their worst performance of the Premier League era.

Not that Moyes is thinking that way.

For his team are now only two points behind a Liverpool side that was being touted as potential champions heading into the Christmas period.

"Nobody will want Manchester United to be breathing down their necks," he said.

"At the moment we are not close enough for them to feel our breath, so we have to get closer.

"We are working our way towards making that happen but until we keep winning and get closer to the top, there is nothing worth shouting about."

Meanwhile, Tim Sherwood may like his sides to play with risk, but will not allow Tottenham to turn up at Manchester United as "lambs to the slaughter".

After a tumultuous first half of the season at White Hart Lane, Spurs start 2014 with the unenviable task of facing David Moyes' title holders at Old Trafford.

United themselves endured a tough start to the campaign as they began life without Sir Alex Ferguson, but there are now signs of a revival.

They head into the match on a run of six successive wins in all competitions and sixth in the Barclays Premier League, eight points off the top.

United will undoubtedly be Sherwood's toughest test since he replaced Andre Villas-Boas and one the Spurs boss suggested will mean he has to alter his attack-minded philosophy.

"I like to play with risk," the Tottenham manager said after overcoming Stoke 3-0.

"There is going to be, with respect to Stoke, tougher tests ahead and we know that.

"We have to try to find the right formula to perform against some of the bigger teams.

"We have to assess what Man United are coming with. We know they're going to be very, very good.

"They always are and have been ever since I was in football. We know we have to give them respect but we can't be lambs to the slaughter.

"We need to make sure we go out there and impose ourselves on them as much as we can."

Tottenham's chances of continuing their unbeaten start to league life under Sherwood will be made all the more tougher at Old Trafford by their mounting injury problems. Sandro, Younes Kaboul, Andros Townsend and Jan Vertonghen all remain sidelined.

Belfast Telegraph


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