Manchester United have lost their last two home games, and five overall in the season. Moyes may be glad that tonight's game is away from home, as he knows there is a pressure mounting from the United fans. In his press conference ahead of the match tonight Poyet said 'I am sure that David first is strong enough and good enough to do the job, and secondly, everybody knew that after Alex Ferguson, it would be very difficult, very difficult.'
Manchester United fans may be panicking and some are even calling for Moyes to be sacked already. However most football fans can see that it was never going to be an easy job to take over after Ferguson and Moyes does need time. We have seen in the last ten years that Moyes is a top manager and was the ideal candidate for the job. Things haven't gone to plan so far, but they also had to deal with Chief Executive David Gill leaving the club.
Had David Gill stayed for another year, then the transition from Ferguson to Moyes would have been a lot smoother. But perhaps having to replace them both at the same time has proved too much for the club. Ed Woodward failed to negotiate the transfers United needed in the summer and they look unlikely to make any major moves in January.
Whilst not normally considered an important competition, the Capital One Cup now seems to take extra significance for United having been knocked out of the FA Cup on Sunday. Failure to progress past Sunderland over two legs will add more pressure on Moyes. Whilst a place in the final will not be celebrated a great deal, it is a necessity as Moyes finds himself in a difficult situation. The only way Moyes can come out of this competition with United fans in full support of him is probably with a win over Manchester City in the final.
Sunderland themselves will see this as fantastic opportunity to beat the Red Devils, a perfect time to be playing them. Whilst they have their own troubles to be dealing with at the other end of the table, a cup run can give them momentum as shown by the scenes at the end of their quarter-final victory over Chelsea.
Poyet may be backing Moyes, but he will be hoping to knock him out of the Capital One Cup, and it will be a devastating blow for Moyes despite it being the least important competition for them at the start of this season. The Capital One Cup carries more significance than ever before for Manchester United.
image: © Rach