David Moyes confident he retains faith of players and fans
Manchester United manager admits fans are entitled to organise protest
Manchester United manager David Moyes sits in the dugout during the Premier League match against Manchester City at Old Trafford. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA
David Moyes insists he retains the support of the majority of Manchester United fans.
A group of supporters have clubbed together to pay for a light aircraft to fly over Old Trafford on Saturday, trailed by a banner that reads “Wrong One – Moyes Out”.
The United boss said fans were “entitled” to organise such a protest after recent results, but the Scot insists he is supported by most fans, the club’s board and the playing staff.
“Everywhere I go I get great support from Manchester United supporters,” Moyes said.
“I was at a dinner last night for Darren Fletcher and there were Manchester United supporters who came up to me and said ‘come on, keep going, we understand exactly the situation the club is in and team is in’.
“They were really supportive and every time I have been to Old Trafford they have been great.
“I am seeing a lot different from what a lot of people are saying but I understand that results matter.”
When asked about the fly-by, Moyes said: “I have heard of it and what they are saying about it, but this is something which is a long journey here, this is only the start of the journey.
“People can do that. They are entitled to do that.”
Moyes, whose team lie seventh in the Barclays Premier League, insists the protest against him has only strengthened his resolve to turn United’s fortunes around.
“I am more driven to succeed more than ever. I want to change this position we are in now and I believe we can do that,” he said.
“I am hurting and the players are hurting but we are working hard.”
Reports of unrest among the playing staff emerged following Tuesday’s 3-0 defeat to Manchester City – the club’s sixth home defeat of the campaign.
When asked if he retained the support of the playing staff, Moyes said: “Definitely. I have no reason to suggest anything else.
“We work together and have a great relationship.”
Another defeat at Old Trafford would give United their worst home record since 1974.
They are already guaranteed to end the campaign with their worst points total in Premier League history.
Further pressure will be heaped on Moyes if United lose to Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon, but the Scot insists people should be looking at the long-term, rather than the short-term.
“There’s a rebuilding plan under way and anybody who has an understanding of the game understands that will happen,” he said.
Bobby Charlton said before the derby defeat that Moyes was “absolutely” the right choice to replace Alex Ferguson even though some have claimed that results have suggested differently.
United Defender Rio Ferdinand said he had been “embarrassed” by the team’s form at times this year.
Moyes says results have taken their toll on him and the rest of the United squad too.
“Everybody’s hurting,” he said. “They players are hurting. They’re really good professionals who work incredibly hard at their jobs and it’s the same for the management staff as well.
“We’re working hard to try and make sure we get winning teams, but the players are hurting as well.”
A potentially crucial week lies ahead for Moyes.
If results go against them on Saturday, United could be 15 points adrift of fourth place with six matches left.
The Red Devils then take on the all-conquering Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie on Tuesday night.
Moyes hopes his team can rebuild some of their confidence this weekend.
“We go into the Villa game knowing that we want to go into the Munich game in good fettle,” he said.
“And we’re looking forward to it because we played really well at West Ham and if we can follow up with a similar performance, I’ll be more than happy.
“But then we play against maybe the best team in Europe in midweek, which we’re looking forward to.”
Villa look easy opponents for United on paper given their inconsistent form this year, although they did beat Chelsea two weeks ago.
Villa are 12th in the table. Some Villa fans expected more from their season, but Moyes thinks his opposite number Paul Lambert is doing a good job with the midlands outfit.
“I think Paul Lambert has had a difficult job there. He’s had to alter the budget there and change a little bit of the way Villa have maybe done it in the past,” he said.
“For such a big club to be in that position – they’re obviously looking for more. But Paul has done a good job in bringing in lots of young players, sticking with them and trusting them.”