David Moyes will be relieved to finally start his first Premier League campaign in charge of Manchester United at Swansea on Saturday after a tumultuous opening to his Old Trafford reign.
If Moyes was in any doubt about the pressures facing him as Alex Ferguson’s successor, he is no longer under any illusions after a turbulent first few months since arriving from Everton.
The Scot has inherited an unsettled Wayne Rooney, who has been the subject of two offers from Chelsea and has made it clear he wants to move to Stamford Bridge. Moyes has also failed with much-publicised pursuits of Thiago Alacantara, who preferred to join Bayern Munich from Barcelona, and the Catalan club’s Cesc Fabregas.
He was also rebuffed when he returned to his former club Everton with a 12 million pounds offer for the England defender Leighton Baines. On the field, United endured a pre-season tour of more than three weeks before there was a rare piece of good news for Moyes when he picked up his first silverware with a 2-0 win over Wigan in the Community Shield last weekend.
But Moyes is also far from happy that, after the trip to Swansea City, United face Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City in their opening five Premier League games. On the positive side, Wilfried Zaha, who signed in January but only joined from Crystal Palace in June, has impressed, along with Belgian teenager Adnan Januzaj.
Despite his difficulties in the transfer market, Moyes remains certain he will be able to add to his squad before the transfer deadline on September 2 and feels he already has adequate options available. “I’m confident we’ll have players in,” Moyes said. “We’re involved in several players we’re looking at and that will continue.
“Will we get them before the deadline? I hope so, but we’re working very hard to do so. What I do know is that we have a great group of players already, who won the Premier League last year.
“We’ve got a lot of exciting young players — a lot of them played for England against Scotland — so it’s important that we focus on the players we’ve got at Manchester United and how well they did last year. “Not much has changed so hopefully they’ll be able to continue from where they left off last season.”
Doubts over Carrick
Moyes has a doubt over Michael Carrick for the trip to the Liberty Stadium after the midfielder pulled out of England duty with an eye infection. Moyes won both of his trips to the Liberty Stadium with Everton but the Welsh side picked up a 1-1 draw against United last season after suffering a narrow 1-0 defeat the previous campaign.
Swans manager Michael Laudrup faced uncertainty about his future after questioning the club’s ambition during the pre-season. But he has been active in the transfer market, spending almost 20 million pounds, including the signing of Ivory Coast striker Wilfried Bony in a £12 million deal from Vitesse Arnhem. And Swansea’s Dutch goalkeeper Michel Vorm believes they can take advantage of United being under pressure to make a fast start.