Another defeat and more questions for David Moyes to answer.
Manchester United manager David Moyes may not have said the title race is over for his side after they succumbed to their seventh league defeat of the season at the hands of Chelsea.
Moyes said in his press conference after the 3-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge: ‘What we don’t is throw the towel in until we can’t get there. The job is to try and finish first. There are no clever answers – the next game. We’d lost one in six before today in the league, and I didn’t think there was a big difference between the teams today. The difference was our defending to set-pieces.
‘Confidence is fine. It’s a difficult task but it’s perseverance… doing what is right. We have players to come back and this is a project I’m going to improve as we go along. It’s a massive challenge. I’d hope I’d be in a far better position than this but we’re not. As a football person, it’s a great challenge to have. Of course I was hoping to win more and compete a bit more but that’ll come.’
You could read into those comments and say that Moyes was anticipating a slow start to the season and thought United’s challenge would gather pace as the season would go on.
Nemanja Vidic said afterwards that their title defence is over, telling Sky Sports: ‘I think we are too far behind and we have to focus on the top three or four. We have to focus on the [Capital One] Cup and the Champions League.’
With 48 points in the season still to play for, United would finish on 85 points if they were to go on a 16 match winning from now until the end of the season.
That looks unlikely given the sides they have to face and that they haven’t managed to string of more than four wins together in the league so far this season.
Moyes must be expecting some improvement from now through until the end of the season as his ideas should surely become clearer. The absence of Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney has undoubtedly hurt the Red Devils, and those two returning to the side at some stage will probably see an upturn in the side's form.
United still have quality players in their side, and the United boss clearly thinks the side has enough about them to still be contenders, so top four – you would think – would be very achievable – they could end up seven points off the pace by the end of this evening.
The side has title winning qualities having been there and done it before, and it's probably the one thing Moyes is holding on to in a side that is in desperate need of quality, fresh blood. But now he probably feels he's got to show his current squad he has the belief in them to salvage something from a stuttering campaign thus far.
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