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Fergie manifesto rubs off on Moyes

04 Nov 2013 21:47:00

Fergie manifesto rubs off on Moyes

Manchester United manager David Moyes has not had time to start Sir Alex Ferguson's autobiography - but it is clear he has picked up valuable lessons from his fellow Scot.

When he checked in at Manchester Airport for the flight to Spain ahead of Tuesday's Champions League encounter with Real Sociedad, Moyes was pictured with a copy of Ferguson's account of life in the Old Trafford hot-seat in his hand luggage.

Once Moyes gets around to thumbing his way through it, he will find an insight into how Ferguson liked to defend his players.

And, while it might not be in the book, Moyes would not have to look too far elsewhere to discover Ferguson talking about reaching a 10-point watermark he regarded as essential for qualification into the Champions League knock-out phase.

In his robust assessment of Sascha Riether's challenge on Adnan Januzaj at Fulham on Saturday, Moyes went with the first principle.

And as he observed the state of a Group A campaign in which his side have collected seven points from their opening three matches, it is clear Moyes would regard victory as job done with two games to spare.

Not that he is taking his eye off opponents who have lost every match so far.

"I certainly won't take anything for granted," Moyes said.

"I have a lot of respect for Sociedad, and we will have to play well on Tuesday if we are going to get those 10 points which will get us over the line.

"But we have got ourselves in a good position in the group and we have to try to maintain that."

The last time United visited the Basque country, two seasons ago, they were soundly beaten by Athletic Bilbao in a rather chastening Europa League experience.

Sociedad appear to offer less of a threat.

Although they can put forward reasonable excuses for all three reverses - notably they conceded in injury-time against Bayer Leverkusen and were beaten by an early own goal at Old Trafford a fortnight ago - Sociedad evidently lack the power of not only tournament heavyweights Real Madrid and Barcelona, but also Atletico Madrid and Valencia, who finished fifth in Spain last term, a point behind Sociedad.

"It's very difficult to play at the level Real Madrid and Barcelona are at," said United's Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea.

"They might not be at the top top level yet but it's obvious Real Sociedad have been playing great football over the years.

"They made it very complicated for us in the first game and we hope to do our best against them."

United go into the game on the back of a seven-match unbeaten run in all competitions and after recording back-to-back Premier League victories for the first time since Moyes took charge.

With the visit of leaders Arsenal looming on Sunday, Tuesday's game could be viewed as being of secondary importance.

However, while United cannot actually make qualification certain on Tuesday, they would need only a point from their remaining two games if a third victory in 22 away games in Spain was to be achieved, taking pressure off Moyes leading into the crucial pre-Christmas phase.

United's progress has been in marked contrast to their early-season Premier League struggles.

"There is nothing which we have done differently," Moyes said.

"Everything we're doing in this Champions League we're doing in the Premier League as well.

"The players are used to it. They are experienced at this level and that helps. I hope that continues."

Moyes reported positive news on the injury front, saying: "We don't have a lot of injuries. It's probably the best Manchester United have had for a long time."

Nevertheless, Jonny Evans, Rafael and Tom Cleverley, who were substituted at Fulham with back and ankle injuries and double vision respectively, remained in Manchester.


PA

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