We can’t afford any more slip-ups, insists Moyes as United boss admits his side could be cut adrift in race for the title

He claims he’s ‘not an emotional guy’, but after a decade of forging his reputation and reviving Everton’s, David Moyes’ self-control was at least put to the test by one last walk round the pitch at Goodison Park.

West Ham had just been soundly beaten, and as he stepped out for a final bow as Everton manager, a roar of approval from all sides blew away any doubts about how his impending departure might be perceived and left him struggling to hold it all together.

He was heading for arch-rivals Manchester United, but that scarcely mattered. Years of grim survival battles had been replaced by European ventures and Wembley visits, and a visibly-moved Moyes left with gratitude ringing in his ears.

Old friends: Manchester United boss David Moyes (middle), pictured here during his side's 2-2 draw with Tottenham on Sunday, will face his old club Everton for the first time on Wednesday
Old friends: Manchester United boss David Moyes (middle), pictured here during his side’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham on Sunday, will face his old club Everton for the first time on Wednesday

Memories: Moyes shares a joke with Phil Neville (left) and Tim Cahill (right) after his last game as Everton boss
Memories: Moyes shares a joke with Phil Neville (left) and Tim Cahill (right) after his last game as Everton boss

Unfortunately, returning a couple of months later to try and buy their best two players on the cheap was a manoeuvre Everton followers found altogether more difficult to overlook.

As he prepares to face his old club for the first time, at Old Trafford tonight, Moyes insists his overriding concern is avoiding dropping any more points and ensuring United are not ‘cut adrift’ from the Barclays Premier League’s pacesetters.

But it is an intriguing backdrop that even he knows defying the odds during 11 years of budget restraints may count for nothing and that at least an element of Everton’s travelling support may turn on him over United’s cut-price bids for Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini.

Man in form: United striker Wayne Rooney (right) celebrates his second goal of the game against Tottenham
Man in form: United striker Wayne Rooney (right) celebrates his second goal of the game against Tottenham

Up for it: United goalkeeper David De Gea, pictured here celebrating Wayne Rooney's first equaliser against Spurs, could be in for a busy night against in-form Everton
Up for it: United goalkeeper David De Gea, pictured here celebrating Wayne Rooney’s first equaliser against Spurs, could be in for a busy night against in-form Everton

Back in favour: Shinji Kagawa (left), pictured here in action against Tottenham on Sunday, has worked his way into Moyes' starting XI after a difficult spell at the start of the season
Back in favour: Shinji Kagawa (left), pictured here in action against Tottenham on Sunday, has worked his way into Moyes’ starting XI after a difficult spell at the start of the season

‘I’d never be surprised by football supporters, but I think Everton’s are well aware of what was done at their club,’ said the United manager.

‘The Premier League has been going just over 20 years, and they had a top 10 finish maybe once in the first 10-year period. In the second, we finished in the top 10 on a regular basis. I think if someone really looked at it, they would understand and hopefully realise that I helped push the club in the right direction.

‘But I would not be surprised (if there was some flak). I had a great rapport with the fans at Everton, but things would not surprise me, because I have got to do a job for Manchester United, while they have to support their team, which they have always done.

Great start: Moyes was appointed Everton manager in 2002 and beat Fulham 2-1 in his first game in charge
Great start: Moyes was appointed Everton manager in 2002 and beat Fulham 2-1 in his first game in charge

 

On the up: Everton striker Romelu Lukaku (right) scores his side's final goal in their 4-0 win against Stoke on Saturday
On the up: Everton striker Romelu Lukaku (right) scores his side’s final goal in their 4-0 win against Stoke on Saturday

‘We were not happy when we lost Joleon Lescott to Manchester City, so I totally understand (anger over the Baines bids) and have no qualms about it at all. That is football, and if it happens, it happens.

‘Certainly, I don’t think there was any animosity about the way I left. I was deciding what my future was going to be at Everton and how we were going to go forward when, four or five weeks before the end of the season, I got a call from Sir Alex (Ferguson). If I had not received that call, I’m sure I would still be working with Bill Kenwright as manager of Everton.

‘I’m not the emotional type, but I do have great memories of the players and what they achieved. I was close to a lot of them, and after the game, I will be the first to go in and see them and say hello.

New man: Roberto Martinez (left) has settled into life at Goodison Park well since replacing Moyes as manager
New man: Roberto Martinez (left) has settled into life at Goodison Park well since replacing Moyes as manager

Moved on: Everton don't appear to be missing Moyes and currently sit fifth in the league
Moved on: Everton don’t appear to be missing Moyes and currently sit fifth in the league

Still in touch: Moyes still speaks to Everton chairman Bill Kenwright (left), pictured here introducing new manager Roberto Martinez (right) to the media in June
Still in touch: Moyes still speaks to Everton chairman Bill Kenwright (left), pictured here introducing new manager Roberto Martinez (right) to the media in June

‘I still speak to Bill, and there has been a bit of banter flying around between our staff and theirs. We’ll have a drink together afterwards, and that’s great. But there can’t be any emotion, because that’s not me. I’ve got another club now, and there’s a job to be done.’

 United trail fifth-placed Everton by two points, but most attention is on a nine-point gap at the top Moyes fears could become insurmountable, if it opens up much more.

‘Yes there is (a concern we cut be cut adrift),’ he said.

‘We’ve got to make sure we keep ourselves close enough to be competing. We got ourselves in a really good position after beating Arsenal at home, but then we slipped up at Cardiff. We’ve got to make sure there aren’t any more slip-ups.’

Benched: United midfielder Marouane Fellaini (right) was an unused substitute against Spurs but looks set to start against his former club Everton on Wednesday
Benched: United midfielder Marouane Fellaini (right) was an unused substitute against Spurs but looks set to start against his former club Everton on Wednesday

Claim: Phil Neville (centre) believes Fellaini needs to start scoring from midfield, as he did while at Goodison Park
Claim: Phil Neville (centre) believes Fellaini needs to start scoring from midfield, as he did while at Goodison Park

Moyes is not the only one up against his old club. With Phil Jones suspended, deadline-day signing Fellaini is set for a recall to the starting line-up, and there was a sharp reminder from coach Phil Neville that it’s time for the former Everton midfielder to start delivering.

‘He needs to start scoring from midfield, because there’s no-one better at that than him,’ said Neville.

‘United fans haven’t seen the best of him. He wasn’t fully fit at the outset, but we are getting him fitter to play for United and be that box-to-box player.

‘What is important for him now is to play well in a match we win and he scores a goal. He needs to experience that feeling when you are part of a team that wins.

 

 

Source : Daily mail

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