Quick links

Manchester United

Revealed: Greek boss tells Moyes how to overturn Olympiakos deficit

Just over a fortnight ago, Yannis Anastasiou accomplished exactly what Manchester United must on Wednesday.

Tensions have reached a boiling point at Old Trafford by now.

Patience is wearing thin on all fronts with the Moyes project and Liverpool's 3-0 thrashing of United at the weekend acted only as the latest indicator of the Red Devils’ free fall.

Outside of Sunday’s thorough demolition in the derby, the 2-0 loss to Olympiakos in the Champions League round of 16 was perhaps the most shocking of outcomes.

Of course, there’s a catalogue of failures to choose from during the Scot’s brief time at the helm for the soon to be deposed champions of England, but the abject nature of United’s display in Greece seemed to leave a particularly irrevocable stain on the wounded giants.

Lacking creativity and drive, Moyes and company left the initiative to the Super League leaders and in turn felt their wrath, perhaps even fortunate to escape the Karaiskakis Stadium with the arrears they did.

What remains is an uphill battle to save face for the Scot, the need for a 3-0 victory at Old Trafford - the very ground that has ceased to be the fortress it formerly was with Sir Alex Ferguson on the bench.

Look no further than Panathinaikos boss Anastasiou for guidance, however.

In Olympiakos’ next game following the famous triumph over United, the Prasinoi boss led his side into battle with their fierce rivals and emerged with just the result the Red Devils require - in Piraeus, no less.

“We tried to adjust our game accordingly by pressing high when they were in possession and taking a direct route when we had the ball,” Anastasiou told the Guardian of his tactical plan.

“The team executed the plan very well on the day but our physical fitness was very important in this approach; we said beforehand that the players will need to run and run and that is what they did.”

United lacked any sort of rhythm to their game against Olympiakos, something that Anastasiou has identified as a major issue.

And with a fast start to put the Greeks under pressure, the Panathinaikos boss sees the potential for the Red Devils to press home an inherent advantage held by English clubs.

“It will be a completely different game in Manchester because they are trailing by two goals,” he added. “United definitely need to start very quickly because Greek teams can find the big difference in tempo when they play against Premier League teams very difficult to cope with.

“I would expect them to struggle with that - but United didn’t perform at all in the first leg so of course they have a very good chance to go through.”

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch