Belfast Telegraph

Moyes must accept tough start

David Moyes has had to settle for the knowledge that if Manchester United have a hard start to their Premier League campaign, then so must all the clubs they face.

Moyes was so concerned at a fixture list that sends his team to Swansea for the beginning of their title defence on Saturday, before fixtures against Chelsea, Liverpool and, after a one-game gap, Manchester City, he contacted the Premier League for reassurance.

It is straight out of the Sir Alex Ferguson book of conspiracy theories, with league chiefs quick to point out the tough schedule was arrived at purely by random.

Moyes does not appear convinced.

But as there is nothing to be done now, he has to look for the positives.

"It is (a hard start)," he said.

"But if it is a hard start for Manchester United, it is a hard start for everyone else because they have to play us.

"The old manager told me those sort of things happened.

"I hope it's not because Manchester United won the league quite comfortably last year (that) the fixtures have been made much more difficult.

"I find it hard to believe that's the way the balls came out of the bag, that's for sure."

In contrast, City face newly-promoted pair Cardiff and Hull as well as Stoke in their first five games while Chelsea also meet Hull plus last year's strugglers Aston Villa.

A Premier League spokesman said: "David has put those concerns to us. We have absolutely assured him the process is random and above board. He has accepted those assurances."

Moyes has more to occupy his mind just now anyway, in particular whether to hand Wayne Rooney a place in his squad for the trip to south Wales after the striker proved his well-being at Wembley on Wednesday night.

"He got his first competitive 65 minutes but he hasn't had any other serious action," said Moyes.

"I will assess it but right now, I couldn't tell you (whether he will be involved)."

It is yet another angle to a saga that has run throughout the summer without apparently moving anywhere.

And Moyes will be glad when there are actually matches to talk about.

"It's part of the job and I understand he is someone everybody wants to discuss," he said.

"I have to answer it the best I can but we will all be glad once the season is started.

"We want to get the season underway. When we get the games going the focus will hopefully shift from the off-field stuff we have at the moment."


From Belfast Telegraph