David Moyes questions fixture list

‘I think it’s the hardest start for 20 years that Manchester United have had’

Manchester United Manager David Moyes. Photograph:  Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Manchester United Manager David Moyes. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Thu, Aug 15, 2013, 14:55

David Moyes says it is “hard to believe” that Manchester United’s opening Premier League fixtures had come out by chance and described it as the club’s toughest start for 20 years.

Moyes’s first league game as United boss comes at Swansea on Saturday evening and they follow that up with a home game against Chelsea before away trips to Liverpool and Manchester City, either side of a visit to Old Trafford from newly-promoted Crystal Palace.

An aggrieved Moyes questioned such a run of fixtures and in quotes reported on the BBC Sport website, he said: “I think it’s the hardest start for 20 years that Manchester United have had.

“I hope it’s not because Manchester United won the league quite comfortably last year (that) the fixtures have been made much more difficult.”

He added: “I find it hard to believe that’s the way the balls came out of the bag, that’s for sure.”

In contrast, City face newly-promoted pair Cardiff and Hull as well as Stoke in their first five games while Chelsea also meet Hull plus last year’s strugglers Aston Villa.

A Premier League spokesman said: “David has put those concerns to us. We have absolutely assured him the process is random and above board. He has accepted those assurances.”

Moyes has reiterated that striker Wayne Rooney is not for sale.

Chelsea have submitted two unsuccessful bids for Rooney, who has not featured for United in their pre-season games although he did start for England in Wednesday’s friendly victory over Scotland.

Moyes told Sky Sports News: “There have been no more developments and we don’t want any more developments because we have told everybody - which I have said before - he is not for sale.”

Rooney, who has been suffering with a shoulder injury, could feature for United in their Premier League opener at Swansea on Saturday. Moyes will assess the striker’s fitness when he returns to the club from international duty.

Moyes, who was speaking at the launch of the new Premier League season, added: “I will need to see how he is when we get back. When I get back I will try and assess him. I watched the game last night and I thought for the 65 minutes or so that he played, I thought he did well. He ran around, he got himself some fitness, but it certainly was his first outing in any real competitive game.”