Champions League

Moyes defiant after fightback

2014-03-20 10:53
David Moyes (AFP)

Manchester - Embattled Manchester United manager David Moyes insisted that he was not under pressure after his side's stirring comeback against Greek champions Olympiakos took them into the Champions League quarter-finals.

Moyes enjoyed a rare night of success at Old Trafford on Wednesday as United overturned a 2-0 deficit from the first leg of their last 16 tie with a 3-0 victory built around a Robin van Persie hat-trick.

With United 18 points off the lead and 12 points shy of the top four in the Premier League after a chastening 3-0 loss to Liverpool on Sunday, the former Everton manager's position has come under scrutiny.

Some British media reports suggested that his job would remain at risk regardless of the outcome of the Olympiakos tie, but he said he was confident that he retained the full support of his employers.

"I'm not feeling any pressure from inside the club," he told reporters.

"It's coming from you people. We know the job we have to do. It's probably bigger than what I thought when I first came to the club.

"There are stories of this player falling out, or that one falling out, but it's rubbish. People are looking for reasons why we are not doing well, but it is only because we have not been playing well."

United had never previously overturned a two-goal deficit in the Champions League knockout phase, but Moyes was unwilling to describe their success as a potential watershed moment.

"People will probably think it's a turning point in people's careers, but I didn't see it like that because the club don't see it like that," said the Scot, who signed a six-year contract last year.

"I see myself here for a long time. I think we know we have a lot of work to do, but it's a great result and we want to stay in the competition."

Van Persie broke the deadlock with a 25th-minute penalty after he had been bundled over by Jose Holebas and then levelled the aggregate score in first-half injury time by converting a low centre from Wayne Rooney.

The Dutch striker settled the tie with a free-kick seven minutes into the second period, but United had to endure several close shaves and were indebted to some assured shot-stopping by goalkeeper David de Gea.

Van Persie was stretchered off in the dying stages after taking a blow to the back of his knee, but Moyes played down the extent of the injury, saying it was "hopefully not too bad".

He also paid tribute to 40-year-old midfielder Ryan Giggs, who showcased a magnificent range of passing, including raking passes in the build-up to both of his side's first two goals.

"It's incredible, the amount of games he's played in the Champions League," Moyes said.

"He was fantastic -- the passes he made for the two goals, his general football. He's a freak."

United will learn the identity of their quarter-final opponents on Friday and while their domestic travails make them unlikely candidates to win the tournament, Moyes believes that they could go all the way.

"We probably now will go into it as underdogs in a lot of the games," he said. "Hopefully we can do it. I don't see any reason why not.

"I think this club is capable of it. If we play to our capabilities, which we have not done too often, then I think we will be a match for any team."

Olympiakos have now lost on all of their 12 visits to England, but having emerged from a group containing Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica before almost upsetting United, coach Michel was eager to emphasise the positives.

"I'm very disappointed, because when I saw the players in the dressing room, it wasn't a nice sight to see," said the former Real Madrid midfielder, whose side retained the Greek league title last Saturday.

"But overall, it was a good season in Europe. We have to look forward."


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

01 November 2016
Besiktas v Napoli, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Celtic, Borussia-Park 21:45
Benfica v Dynamo Kyiv, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Barcelona, Etihad Stadium 21:45
PSV v FC Bayern München, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Paris Saint-Germain, St Jakob-Park 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v Arsenal, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v FC Rostov, Vicente Calderon 21:45
02 November 2016
FC Porto v Club Brugge, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Juventus v Lyon, Juventus Stadium 21:45
FC København v Leicester City, Parken Stadion 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Real Madrid, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Sevilla v Dinamo Zagreb, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Sporting Lisbon, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v CSKA Moscow, Stade Louis II 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Wembley 21:45
22 November 2016
CSKA Moscow v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Arena CSKA 19:00
Sporting Lisbon v Real Madrid, Estadio Jose Alvalade 21:45
Leicester City v Club Brugge, King Power Stadium 21:45
Dinamo Zagreb v Lyon, Maksimir 21:45
FC København v FC Porto, Parken Stadion 21:45
Sevilla v Juventus, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Legia Warsaw, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v Tottenham Hotspur, Stade Louis II 21:45
23 November 2016
FC Rostov v FC Bayern München, Olimp-2 Stadium 19:00
Besiktas v Benfica, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Manchester City, Borussia-Park 21:45
Celtic v Barcelona, Celtic Park 21:45
Arsenal v Paris Saint-Germain, Emirates Stadium 21:45
Napoli v Dynamo Kyiv, San Paolo 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v FC Basel, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v PSV, Vicente Calderon 21:45
06 December 2016
FC Bayern München v Atlético de Madrid, Allianz Arena 21:45
Barcelona v Borussia Mönchengladbach, Camp Nou 21:45
Benfica v Napoli, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Celtic, Etihad Stadium 21:45
Dynamo Kyiv v Besiktas, Kiev Olympic Stadium 21:45
Paris Saint-Germain v Ludogorets Razgrad, Parc des Princes 21:45
PSV v FC Rostov, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Arsenal, St Jakob-Park 21:45
07 December 2016
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Monaco, BayArena 21:45
FC Porto v Leicester City, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Club Brugge v FC København, Jan Breydelstadion 21:45
Juventus v Dinamo Zagreb, Juventus Stadium 21:45
Lyon v Sevilla, Parc OL 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Sporting Lisbon, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund, Santiago Bernabeu 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v CSKA Moscow, Wembley 21:45
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will be the 2015/16 Champions League top scorer?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.