David Moyes has admitted he’s preparing himself to receive a far from cordial reception from the Everton fans travelling to Old Trafford tonight, as the Scotsman faces his former club for the first time since leaving for Old Trafford in the summer.
Having spent 11 years at Goodison Park, Moyes developed Everton into a top-eight side but never managed to win a trophy and knows he could be targeted by the Everton supporters tonight.
“I wouldn’t be surprised by football supporters, but I think Everton supporters know and are well aware of what was done,” Moyes told the Mirror.
“The Premier League has been going just over 20 years, and they had a top-10 finish maybe once in that first 10-year period.
“In the second 10-year period, we finished in the top 10 on a regular basis.
“So I think if someone really looked at it, they would understand and hopefully realise I helped push the club in the right direction.
“I had a great rapport with the fans at Everton, but things wouldn’t surprise me – I’ve got to do a job for Manchester United, while Everton supporters have to support their team, which they’ve always done.”
The United manager did not renew his contract at Everton, which meant his former club did not receive any compensation once Moyes moved to Old Trafford to replace Sir Alex Ferguson last summer.
“I don’t think there was any animosity built up from that, because I agreed a deal a month before the end of last season,” said Moyes.
“That was a decision taken by Manchester United.
“I had a contract and was deciding what my future was going to be at Everton and how we were going to go forward at Everton.
“In the meantime, four or five weeks before the end of the season, I got a call from Sir Alex. If I hadn’t received that call, I’m sure I’d still be working with Bill Kenwright as manager of Everton.
“That’s possible. It didn’t happen. For different reasons, it didn’t happen that way.”
With Everton fifth and United eight on the table, Moyes knows the pressure is on his side to deliver, particularly as he admitted United are in danger of falling further behind in the title race.
“We’ve got to make sure we keep ourselves close enough to be competing,” said Moyes.
“We got ourselves in a really good position after the Arsenal game, when we won at home, and we then went to Cardiff and looked like we were going to win but didn’t. That’s where we slipped up, because I thought drawing at Tottenham was a pretty good point.
“I couldn’t put my finger on it, but when you look at the amount of games we’ve played, we’ve found that maybe we haven’t been quite as good in some. I could pick the two or three out where we have been a bit disappointing, but there have been signs we’ve been getting better.
“We’ve gone 12 or 13 games unbeaten, and we want to keep that going. We know [we can win the title] if we’re on the coat-tails of the leaders going into the New Year.
“It’s never been a situation where United have ever been too far away. They’re always in a similar position and we’ve got to make sure we’re in there – that’s why every game at the moment is really important for us.”
The former Everton manager is adamant he won’t let feelings for his former club get in the way tonight, as he’s well aware of the importance of tonight’s game and that United must win to keep in touch with the teams ahead of them.
“It’s about getting three points to try and make sure we’re in a good position in the league,” said Moyes. “We have to try and keep hanging in there.
“We’ve two home games now and we have to try and make the most of them. We want to be in the mix and we don’t want to be too far away from the teams at the top.”
Marouane Fellaini could also be facing his former club, given Phil Jones is suspended, and Moyes insisted that while the Belgian might not have had the best of starts, he remains a talented player and the club has faith in him.
“He’s not had the best of starts, but this is a difficult club to join and settle in right away,” said the United manager.
“It’s a new manager as well, so from that point of view, he can take time to settle in. But he’s a good player and has been for a few years at this level, and I have no doubt he’ll go on to prove it with this club.”
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Tags: Manchester United News