Hull City v Manchester United - LIVE

26 December 2013 09:47
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Bruce: Things will click for Moyes

Steve Bruce believes David Moyes is coping admirably with the task of stepping into Sir Alex Ferguson's shoes at Manchester United.

Hull boss Bruce, a former United captain under Ferguson and once considered a potential successor, has huge respect for the way Moyes has taken on one of the thorniest tasks in the game.

Replacing Ferguson, whose trophy haul and longevity at Old Trafford are unprecendented, has been described as an impossible task and, with the champions eighth in the table after winning just eight of their 17 games, Moyes has hardly enjoyed a straightforward start.

But Bruce, whose side host the Red Devils on Boxing Day, appreciates better than most the pressures of life at Old Trafford and believes the Scot will be a success given time.

"I think whoever had taken over would have needed a bit of time," he said.

"Sir Alex must be there in every closet, behind every door you open. Thankfully they have shown what kind of a club they are, giving David a six-year deal. They will give him time and rightly so. The change has happened and I think we're all getting used to seeing David standing there now.

"It's never easy to follow someone like Sir Alex, with the record he's got. But he's an outstanding manager, David, and it's just a matter of time before things click into place.

"He'll have to have his own stamp on it, like anyone in management, but he's proved over the years what a good manager he is. He's a football man and all of us in the game, us British ones at least, are delighted that the big, top job has gone to somebody like him because he deserves it."

Whether or not Bruce can put a fresh spanner in the works for Moyes, who has overseen four consecutive wins in all competitions since losing successive matches against Everton and Newcastle, could depend on his defenders.

The Tigers have conceded the fewest goals in the league on home turf - just three in eight matches - an unlikely statistic for a promoted side and also a point of some pride for former centre-half Bruce.

He accepts his back-line, led impressively by skipper Curtis Davies and directed by Scotland goalkeeper Allan McGregor, must be at their best once more to keep United quiet but they have previous this season - with the prolific Luis Suarez quiet during Liverpool's 3-1 defeat in East Yorkshire earlier this month.

"We've been good defensively and we'll need to be good again because with Manchester United coming to town they can score from all sorts of areas," he said.

"Rooney, Welbeck, Hernandez, Valencia, Cleverley, Jones, Smalling.take your pick because the list is endless. They've got big players who want to win, want to entertain and want to beat you: that's not going to change.

"They have found a bit of form, as you would expect, and they were convincing winners (3-1 over West Ham) at the weekend. So it's one where there is no real expectation on us, it's all on them.

"We have to make sure we play well. We did that against Liverpool and caught them on an off day. We have to enjoy the occasion and enjoy the challenge of facing Manchester United.

"So let's not have too much turkey at Christmas and put up a really good display."

Bruce could field the same starting XI for the fourth Barclays Premier League match in a row.

With Robbie Brady (groin) unlikely to be fit to face his former club, Bruce may keep faith with a side that has drawn against Swansea, Stoke and West Brom.

Sone Aluko (Achilles) and Stephen Quinn (hamstring) are both certain absentees.

Adnan Januzaj seems to be following the Cristiano Ronaldo route to stardom at Manchester United.

Just like Ronaldo, Januzaj has burst onto the first-team scene at the age of 18 with a series of dazzling performances.

As with the Portugal superstar, the teenager has become an instant favourite of the Old Trafford faithful.

And, just as Sir Alex Ferguson had to do with Ronaldo, so Moyes has needed to step in and deliver some words of advice to try and curb a tendency to go down too easily.

Yet, as with Ronaldo, Moyes offers a stern defence of a player who has twice been booked for diving, the latest card arriving against West Ham on Saturday, and has now become, on a game for game average, the most fouled player in the Premier League.

"I can only say what I see," said Moyes. "In the previous games he has been getting kicked from pillar to post and the referees have been quite happy to let that go.

"They have not been too bothered about doing anything about it.

"The boy was wrong with what happened on Saturday and we have told him about it. But we all make one or two mistakes and the boy will learn as he gets older.

"The thing is, when you are getting kicked all the time and folk are lunging into tackles into you, sometimes you have to jump out of the way or you are going to get hurt.

"That is what I continually say. I just hope it doesn't take a sore one before people start doing something about it."

A decade ago, Ferguson was saying very similar things about Ronaldo.

And while Moyes fought shy of comparing the two, it is an obvious reference point for what could be achieved by Januzaj.

"Some people need to realise this is a young talent," said Moyes. "At the moment they are kicking him but it is right, they also kicked Ronaldo and look at the player he went on to be.

"Adnan will also go on to become a great player in time.

"At the moment the job is to make sure he is able to play."

With Robin van Persie almost certain to miss out with a thigh injury and Danny Welbeck a doubt due to the bang on the knee that forced him out of Saturday's win over West Ham, Moyes is likely to be relying on Januzaj to some extent at Hull on Boxing Day.

For Hull's record of conceding just three goals on home soil this term is the best in the Premier League, with only Manchester City even getting close.

"It is a great record," said Moyes.

"In this league you have either got to score plenty of goals or not concede them, it is one or the other.

"As far as Steve Bruce is concerned, it means he has a good base and his team are hard to beat.

"It gives him a platform to play off and means he can hope the odd goal wins him matches.

"It will be a tough game that's for sure but we have got ourselves on a winning run and hopefully we can continue that."

Danny Welbeck is a doubt for Manchester United's Boxing Day trip.

Welbeck suffered a bang on the knee during Saturday's win over West Ham and, though fears of a repeat of the injury that ruled him out earlier in the season have been dispelled, he is in a race to be fit for the KC Stadium.

Michael Carrick (Achilles) and Robin van Persie (thigh) are unlikely to be involved and Marouane Fellaini (wrist) is definitely out but Anders Lindegaard should be back after a hip problem.

Source: DSG