Having endured a torrid start to their domestic campaign, Manchester United turn to Europe to try and find some solace and, hopefully, a return to winning ways.
However, a trip to Donetsk to face the current Ukrainian champions is hardly the sort of fixture that could fill Reds with confidence ahead of kick-off, particularly considering the Mircea Lucescu’s team are everything United are not at the moment – a club who are happy to spend in the transfer window and who like to play a quick, crisp, passing game on the pitch.
David Moyes has asked United fans to be patient and promised that he’ll turn things around after the club suffered their worst start in 24 years, losing three of the opening six Premier League games.
Having openly claimed that the current squad is not good enough to win in Europe, and that he spent the summer looking for a couple of world class players who could walk straight into the side, Moyes, who also warned fans that days like the 4-1 thrashing at Manchester City could happen again this season, was defiant ahead of United’s trip to Donetsk, where they face Shakthar tonight.
Shinji Kagawa has admitted he needs to improve to convince David Moyes he’s worth a regular spot in the starting XI, or his career at Manchester United might soon be over.
The Japanese international has endured a tough start under Moyes, as he’s struggled to cement a place in the starting XI, with the former Everton manager preferring Ashley Young to the Japanese international, who has failed to replicate the form he enjoyed at Borussia Dortmund.
David Moyes’ career at Old Trafford might off to a rather underwhelming start and the new manager might have made his feelings about the squad all too clear, but he will, nonetheless, be handed a£50m transfer kitty ahead of the January transfer window as United are well aware that strengthening the squad is an absolute priority.
Having spent the summer chasing unrealistic targets only to end paying over the odds for Marouane Fellaini, Moyes has admitted his squad simply isn’t competitive enough to challenge Europe’s elite, while United have picked up seven points from their first six league games, a rather inauspicious start.
Eric Steele, the former United goalkeeping coach, has revealed David De Gea’s career at Old Trafford didn’t get off to a flying start, due to the Spaniard’s “lazy” attitude towards learning English and to his penchant for eating “too many tacos”.
Steele is widely credited with being the figure who turned De Gea from a young, promising yet unreliable goalkeeper into one of the best shot-stopper in the world in the space of two years, after De Gea arrived from Atletico Madrid for £17.8m.
The morning after the day before, United find themselves three points clear of the relegation zone, having not scored a Premier League goal from open play since the opening day of the season and with an unfamiliar feeling borne out of some the abject performances offered in the first six weeks of the campaign.
David Moyes, however, pleaded the fans to stand by the team, underlining that the support the players receive from the fans will be crucial to overcome United’s worst start since 1989.
“There’ll be more days like last Sunday” said David Moyes during the week, as he illustrated the transition Manchester United are going through at this moment in time. Well, David, thanks for the reminder but you shouldn’t have bothered to press your point home so swiftly.
Today’s defeat against West Bromwich, United’s first at Old Trafford against the Baggies since 1978, won’t hurt as much as last Sunday’s derby shellacking but is, in many ways, much, much worse than the abject performance that led to capitulate against a side that lost to Aston Villa today.
Manchester United are set to revive their interest in Athletic Bilbao’s midfielder Ander Herrera, with club scouts due to monitor the 24-year-old in action this weekend, as David Moyes looks to make sure the January transfer window doesn’t bring the same disappointment United had to face at the beginning of the month.
Herrera was seemingly on the verge of signing for United on deadline day, but David Moyes’ reluctance to meet the £30.5m release clause and the intricate nature of Herrera’s contract with his current club ground the deal to a halt, before the whole negotiation culminated into a fiasco of epic proportions with three impostors in Bilbao acting on behalf United.