Champions League

United must raise their game

2013-12-11 15:34
David Moyes (AFP)

London - David Moyes can take solace in avoiding another home defeat and a 51-year low but his Manchester United side will have to raise their game considerably if they are to go much further in the Champions League.

United enter the knockout stages as Group A winners but the 1-0 victory over Ukrainians Shakhtar Donetsk was far from convincing even if it took some of the pressure off the manager's shoulders.

"I think the club itself needs to be classed as one of the favourites but I think we all know we as a team have to improve if we are to keep progressing in the competition," the Scot told reporters.

Statistically, the haul of 14 points from a possible 18 represents United's best showing in the Champions League group stage since 2007-08 but the story could have been very different.

Phil Jones's second half goal was United's first in five hours and 10 minutes of play with the Reds desperate to avoid a third straight defeat at Old Trafford for the first time since 1962.

Beaten at home in the Premier League by Everton and Newcastle United, the evidence of Tuesday night was that the rot had been papered over rather than stopped.

"I thought there wasn't much difference to the Everton and Newcastle games," said Moyes, who gave his team a stern talking to at halftime. "Tonight we got the goal. In those other games, Everton and Newcastle got the goal. It's been that way since I came here.

"We passed the ball much better after we had given it away terribly in the first half and that's not like us," added the manager, whose side are ninth and 13 points adrift of leaders Arsenal in the Premier League.

Former United captain Roy Keane, now a television pundit, was blunt in his assessment of where the club were at in the first season of the post-Alex Ferguson era.

United, he said, did not look like a team and were instead "just a collection of individuals running around".

"You can defend players for making mistakes, but you cannot defend players for not tackling and not getting close to people," he added.

When Moyes stepped into Ferguson's shoes at Old Trafford, he did so with question marks over how he would fare in Europe but confidence that he knew his way around the Premier League after a decade at Everton.

The irony is that Europe has brought Moyes more respite than domestic competition, an imbalance that will now occupy most of his attention with the Champions League on a break until February.

"They (the players) are well experienced in European football so I think they are more than capable of playing at this level," said Moyes.

"They are also very comfortable in the Premier League but at the moment they are not showing it."

United are at Aston Villa in the league on Sunday.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com 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
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
22 April 2014
Atlético de Madrid v Chelsea, Vicente Calderón 20:45
23 April 2014
Real Madrid v FC Bayern München, Santiago Bernabéu 20:45
29 April 2014
FC Bayern München v Real Madrid, Allianz Arena 20:45
Logs
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
Vote

Which team will win the 2013/14 Champions League title?

 
 
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured Blog

The stock of Bulls and Sharks 2014 Super Rugby jerseys are slowly becoming available after the festive season break, writes blogger Baylion.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

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