Moyes bullish as ti­tle hopes dim

United suf­fers shock home loss to boss’s old side, 1-0

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

Manch­ester United man­ager David Moyes main­tains that his side can still win the Pre­mier League de­spite slip­ping 12 points be­hind leader Arse­nal.

The Old Traf­ford side suf­fered a fourth de­feat of the sea­son when it was stunned 1- 0 at home by his for­mer club Ever­ton on Wed­nes­day.

The cham­pion is now ninth in the ta­ble and is as close to the rel­e­ga­tion zone as it is to the sum­mit.

United only lost five league games in the whole of last sea­son, but even though Moyes ac­cepts it will be a strug­gle, he in­sists his team should not be ruled out.

“We have got a long way to go,” he said. “We will need to play some great foot­ball and win an aw­ful lot of games in the run-in if we are go­ing to be in there and around it at the end of the sea­son.”

Asked if he be­lieved United was ca­pa­ble of that, he replied: “Yes. I’ve got noth­ing to sug­gest any­thing else.”

The United man­ager ad­mits he does not know when last sea­son’s top scorer Robin van Per­sie will re­turn from a groin prob­lem.

Striker Wayne Rooney, mean­while, will be sus­pended for Satur­day’s home match against New­cas­tle United af­ter pick­ing up five yel­low cards.

Nether­lands in­ter­na­tional van Per­sie has not played since the 1-0 win over Arse­nal on Nov 10.

“It is a sort of a groin in­jury. Noth­ing des­per­ately se­ri­ous, just a groin in­jury,” Moyes said.

“We have been try­ing to get him back for a few weeks, but he is not ready yet.”

Moyes was the tar­get for chants from Ever­ton fans an­gry at the man­ner of his de­par­ture dur­ing the close sea­son and his sub­se­quent at­tempts to sign Marouane Fel­laini, who joined in a 27.5 mil­lion pound ($45 mil­lion) deal, and Leighton Baines.

But the Scot, who spent 11 years at Good­i­son Park, said he had no is­sues with the sup­port­ers of his for­mer club.

“It is not im­por­tant. Ever­ton sup­port­ers sup­ported their team well,” he said.

“It ( de­feat) doesn’t hurt

We will need to play some great foot­ball and win an aw­ful lot of games in the run-in if we are go­ing to be in there and around it at the end of the sea­son.” DAVID MOYES MAN UNITED MAN­AGER

more be­ing Ever­ton. I know they are a very good team with very good play­ers. You would imag­ine it is a sore one when it is your old team, so that is the way it is.

“It wasn’t about me tonight, I was for­tu­nate to man­age Ever­ton and I’m for­tu­nate to be man­ag­ing Manch­ester United. It’s a big catch-up for us now.”

Moyes failed to win at Old Traf­ford in his 11-year spell in charge of Ever­ton.

Af­ter Rooney and Danny Wel­beck hit the wood­work ei­ther side of half­time, Ever­ton’s Costa Ri­can left­back, Bryan Oviedo, turned in the game’s only goal from Romelu Lukaku’s scuffed shot with four min­utes re­main­ing.

Ever­ton is fifth in the ta­ble and five points above United af­ter its first vic­tory at Old Traf­ford since 1992.

Moyes’s suc­ces­sor, Roberto Martinez, be­lieves the vic­tory at United will help his team change its mind­set against the Pre­mier League’s big­gest sides.

“It was more than a foot­ball game; for us it was try­ing to get over the men­tal block we had for many years,” said Martinez.

“Some­one told me it is 20-odd years since we won at Old Traf­ford, so it wasn’t about three points. It was about be­ing our­selves through­out the game and push­ing each other.

“The per­for­mance isn’t the best this sea­son — we have played a lot bet­ter — but we had a real men­tal­ity when we had to dig in and they cre­ated a few chances.

“But we never felt in­fe­rior and kept do­ing what we are good at, cre­ated many open chances, which is al­ways hard to do, and, over­all, I couldn’t be prouder of the men­tal­ity of the play­ers.”

On Oviedo, who has been used as backup to Baines since join­ing Ever­ton in 2012, Martinez said: “Bryan has got the hard­est job in foot­ball to be fight­ing against one of the best left­backs in world foot­ball at the peak of his ca­reer.

“It is a re­ward for his hard work and he de­serves it.”

AN­DREW YATES / AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Manch­ester United’s man­ager, David Moyes, re­acts dur­ing the English Pre­mier League match be­tween Manch­ester United and Ever­ton at Old Traf­ford in Manch­ester, north­west Eng­land on Wed­nes­day. Ever­ton won 1-0.

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