Moyes fac­ing fa­mil­iar foe

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in Manch­ester

Manch­ester United man­ager David Moyes claims his side’s Pre­mier League ti­tle bid will gather mo­men­tum be­fore the end of the year as he pre­pares to wel­come for­mer club Ever­ton to Old Traf­ford on Wed­nes­day.

The Red Devils have slipped to eighth place in the standings af­ter con­sec­u­tive 2-2 draws on the road against Cardiff City and Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur in their past two matches.

But with games against teams lower down in the league, in­clud­ing As­ton Villa, Stoke, Hull and Nor­wich, to come af­ter their game against Ever­ton, Moyes does not think it will be long be­fore his squad will be among the ti­tle chal­lengers.

“We are con­cerned that we are not as close as we would like to be, but it is a long sea­son and I think we have got room to get bet­ter and progress. That is with­out a doubt,” he said.

“Hope­fully we will be there. There are a lot of games com­ing up in the next eight weeks and we hope to be in the mix at the end of that pe­riod.

“Tot­ten­ham was not an easy place to go. They have their own pride and they showed that in their per­for­mance.

“Now we have a week that sees us with two home

I do think we have got room to get bet­ter and progress. That is with­out a doubt.” DAVID MOYES MAN UNITED MAN­AGER

matches. We have had three away on the bounce and won in the Cham­pi­ons League and picked up two draws. It is not ideal, but also not the worst.”

Moyes said striker Wayne Rooney, who scored both United goals in its draw with Spurs, has de­served the plau­dits he has re­ceived for his per­for­mances re­cently as he pre­pares to face his boy­hood club again.

An 18- year- old Rooney was sold to United for $42.5 mil­lion in 2004 by Moyes when he was in charge of Ever­ton.

“He de­serves the adu­la­tion he is get­ting,” said Moyes. “He is play­ing well and scor­ing goals. When the mo­ments come he is tak­ing them.”

United will check on the fit­ness of Dutch striker Robin van Per­sie, who has been strug­gling with toe and groin in­juries and missed the trip to Tot­ten­ham. Mid­fielder Michael Car­rick is def­i­nitely out as he re­cov­ers from a calf­shin in­jury.

Ever­ton man­ager Roberto Martinez does not think his play­ers will go to Old Traf­ford with the fear they might have had in pre­vi­ous sea­sons.

Moyes pre­vi­ously stated when­ever he took his Ever­ton side to face United on their own turf his ob­jec­tive was “to get out of Old Traf­ford alive” and per­haps in­evitably the Scot never won there as an op­po­si­tion man­ager.

Ever­ton fans would have to think back to Au­gust 1992 for the team’s last vic­tory at Old Traf­ford, when it won 3-0 dur­ing Howard Ken­dall’s sec­ond spell in charge.

But Martinez in­sisted there was no sense of trep­i­da­tion among his squad ahead of the match.

“Th­ese are games that we are not ex­pected to win, but clearly if we want to achieve some­thing spe­cial we need to be able to break the men­tal­ity of go­ing to the big grounds and get some wins,” he said.

“Over the last 10 years we have not beaten Arse­nal, Manch­ester United, Chelsea and Liver­pool at their own grounds and we need to ad­dress that.

“We need to know how we are go­ing to play and who we are. Th at is a fan­tas­tic test and chal­lenge to have on Wed­nes­day. We are ex­cited about go­ing to Old Traf­ford.”

Ever­ton has no fresh in­jury con­cerns ahead of the match, with for­mer United mid­fielder Darron Gib­son ( knee), de­fender Leighton Baines (an­kle) and striker Arouna Kone (knee) miss­ing.

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