David Moyes has admitted he had to unleash the hairdryer on his players at half-time yesterday, after United produced a shambolic first 45 minutes at home against Shakthar Donetsk and looked in serious danger of slipping up at home against the Ukrainian outfit.
After two consecutive defeats at home, United simply could not afford another mistake and Moyes had harsh words for his players at halftime, which obviously had the desired effect, as United delivered a much improved performance in the second half and secured a crucial 1-0 win thanks to Phil Jones’ goal.
The result means United have finished top of Group A, picking up 14 points out of a possible 18 and conceding just three goals in six games, none in the last three.
“We need to win matches and the players responded well to that encouragement,” Moyes told said in his press conference after the game.
“We passed the ball much better after we had given it away terribly in the first-half and that’s not like us.
“I thought there wasn’t much difference to the Everton and Newcastle games. Tonight we got the goal. In those other games, Everton and Newcastle got the goal.”
“We finished top of the group and that’s what we wanted. We knew we’d already qualified but we wanted to win the group.”
The United manager said that while topping the group and avoiding a potentially tough draw in the round of 16 was pleasing, United must improve dramatically if they’re to have any chance to go the distance in the Champions League
“I think the club itself needs to be classed as one of the favourites, but I think we all know we as a team have to improve if we are to keep progressing in the competition,” said Moyes.
“Hopefully we’ve given ourselves the best chance by winning the group. For a club like Manchester United, you always have to try to win the trophy. That’s the job.
“I think the teams in this competition are very, very good as everyone knows. But you need to try and get better as the tournament goes on.
Meanwhile, on ITV, Roy Keane said the players should be blamed for this season’s struggles, rather than Moyes, given they had not delivered the required response.
“There’s been no reaction from the United players from the disappointment of last week,” said Keane. “They don’t look like a team, just a collection of individuals running around.
“You can defend players for making mistakes but you cannot defend players for not tackling and not getting close to people.
“David Moyes took the heat off the players before the game by saying it’s his responsibility but we’re talking about experienced players.
“As we said before the game, there are big question marks over the manager and the players. That for Manchester United is certainly not good enough.”
Good old Keano.