Man Utd V West Ham at Old Trafford : Match Preview

20 December 2013 05:31
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Evra a fine leader - Moyes

Manchester United manager David Moyes has branded Patrice Evra one of the finest leaders he has ever come across.

Evra spoke with passion following Wednesday's Capital One Cup win over Stoke, laying bare his desire for United to click into top gear following their ropey start to the Premier League campaign, whilst at the same time acknowledging the pressures that come with being a player at Old Trafford.

The full-back has also been an inspiration with France as both Franck Ribery and Yohan Cabaye have testified already this season.

Moyes has also noticed what a powerful presence Evra is at Old Trafford, and what a galvanising impact he has on the dressing room.

"Patrice is one of the finest leaders around the dressing room that I have ever seen," said Moyes.

"He speaks well in everything he does and the way he speaks about the club is great.

"He is inspirational behind the scenes and reminds all the boys what their jobs and duties are.

"He knows we have to have a strong Manchester United. He demands. He doesn't think winning one game is it. He is saying no, we need to win all the games.

"He is great for me and obviously he has been great for the team because he has been a really top player for a long time now."

Yet it did seem Evra was surplus to requirements last summer when Moyes went back to Everton for Leighton Baines.

When Moyes finally accepted defeat on transfer deadline day, he launched an attempt to capture Fabio Coentrao on loan from Real Madrid.

Even though that move failed, it seemed Evra's time at United was drawing to a close.

Yet, Moyes insisted, Evra was told what the new manager was trying to do, and supported it completely.

"Pat was fully aware of what we were doing and he was for it," said Moyes.

"He said we always have to have competition at Manchester United; we always have to be getting better. Plus, he said I had to make sure I did what is right for the football club."

Evra has featured in all but one league game this season, five out of six in the Champions League and scored at the Britannia Stadium in midweek, as United booked a semi-final date with Sunderland.

And it is likely he will feature heavily in a festive programme that starts for United with a home game against West Ham, when they look to avoid losing three league matches on the trot at Old Trafford for the first time since 1979.

Evra highlighted a growing fear factor earlier this week.

However, on this subject, Moyes is in disagreement with the former Monaco man.

"The results have not been what we wanted," said Moyes.

"Because of that, words like nervy, vulnerability, anxious all come to mind.

"But I have never personally found that. The fans have backed the team.

"They know we need to play better and we need to score some more goals but it has not for the want of trying."

United will definitely be without Nani, who has joined an already lengthy injury list, with Moyes confirming the Portugal international will be out "for a few weeks" with a hamstring problem.

In contrast, Wayne Rooney "has a chance" of recovering from the groin strain that kept him out of the Stoke trip.

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has praised the work Moyes is doing at United and feels his efforts so far have been undervalued.

Moyes replaced Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford in the summer and the reigning Premier League champions are currently eighth after losing their last two home league games.

The Hammers, themselves struggling down in 17th place, visit Old Trafford on Saturday with Allardyce acknowledging the size of the job Moyes has after replacing an icon such as Ferguson.

"For him, at the moment I don't think it's quite as bad as everyone makes out," the Hammers boss said.

"(United are in the) semi-finals of the Capital One Cup, qualified (as) winners of their European group and unfortunately for him, (they are in) a league position that he wouldn't have wanted but obviously he'll face the task as he knew it was going to be a difficult takeover period from Sir Alex.

"Old Trafford particularly is where he wants it to be the fortress that Sir Alex always seemed to make it and on occasion that hasn't seemed to happen for him.

"David will be planning as always to get the right team out to beat us and go on from there. Like everybody says, the transition cannot happen overnight and it's like every manager, there's a transitional period that you've got to try and get through before you make your own mark on it."

Allardyce will be without skipper Kevin Nolan as he serves the final match of his three-game ban for his red card at Liverpool but former United youngster Ravel Morrison is in line for a recall to the starting line-up.

The 20-year-old left United to join West Ham in the summer of 2012 and has started making a name for himself at Upton Park, although Allardyce is keen for Saturday's game to be about more than Morrison.

When asked if the England Under-21 international may be looking to prove a point in the game, Allardyce replied: "If he is selected he probably will. My concern would be to say that if he does play and I do select him that he doesn't try and win the game by himself. This is a team game and you can't play as an individual because you're back at Old Trafford."

Source: PA