Sociedad next up for improving United

04 November 2013 01:47

Under fire Manchester United manager David Moyes can ease some of the pressure on his shoulders as the English champions look to edge towards the Champions League last 16 when they visit Real Sociedad on Tuesday.

Whilst Moyes has had a difficult start to life as Alex Ferguson's successor in the Premier League, United's progress in Europe has so far been more straightforward.

The three-time European champions lead Group A on seven points, one ahead of Bayer Leverkusen and three points better off than Shakhtar Donetsk.

Although a win in San Sebastian wouldn't mathematically qualify United for the knockout stages, it would put Moyes' men in a very strong position ahead of a tricky trip to Leverkusen in three weeks' time.

And United will travel to northern Spain encouraged after what captain Nemanja Vidic described as their best performance of the season to date in a 3-1 win away to Fulham on Saturday.

Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney were both on target and also made the third goal for Antonio Valencia as the visitors raced into a 3-0 lead inside 22 minutes at Craven Cottage.

"I was really pleased with Robin and Wayne," Vidic told MUTV.

"In the first 30 minutes they played terrific football and we need them to keep doing that. Their movement was terrific; they got a goal each and set up the other for Antonio. It was a good sign for us and for the team.

"I would say it was (the best performance of the season). We did really well in the first 20 minutes and passed the ball well. We dropped off a bit after 30 minutes and probably thought the game was over.

"Overall, there were lots of positives for us and also areas in which we can improve."

However, that victory also came at a cost as Johnny Evans, Rafael Da Silva and Tom Cleverley all had to be replaced at half-time due to injuries, whilst Patrice Evra also finished the game with a knock.

"It's the first time I've ever had to make three substitutions at half-time," said Moyes.

"Sometimes, maybe the team in the past has not played well and I might have had to do it but it certainly wasn't because of that today - it was down to injuries. I just have to hope they are okay."

Sociedad have yet to pick up a point on their return to the Champions League for the first time in a decade.

However, the Basques have also improved domestically of late - taking 10 points from their last four La Liga games.

Antoine Griezmann has been the star man for Jagoba Arrasate's men, scoring five times in the last three games, and the French winger is still hoping Sociedad can make an impact on the Champions League.

"We want to give some joy to the fans. On Tuesday we will give everything against Manchester United to take the three points," he said.

"We know that qualifying will be difficult, but while there is hope we need to continue fighting. Moreover, we are also playing for the image of the club."

Source: AFP

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
Last updated : 08:44