Champions League draw: David Moyes relishes ‘another epic’ with holders Bayern Munich
Friday 21 March 2014
If the dramatic victory over Olympiakos meant David Moyes could once more “look Manchester United supporters in the face”, the Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich offers him the chance to stand very tall indeed.
Without Robin van Persie, who will miss four to six weeks because of the knee injury he sustained in the 3-0 win over the Greek side on Wednesday, expectations will be as low as they have ever been for a European Cup tie at Old Trafford.
However, by reaching the quarter-finals, Moyes has at least achieved his first goal in the competition – it is the stage United budget to reach. Should he overcome the European champions, who have never lost in Manchester, it will secure his future well into next season.
“I am actually looking forward to it because it will be two really great teams in a big game,” he said. “There have been some epic games between the two clubs over the years and, if I can get another epic game out of this series, then it will mean we will have come close.”
However limited Olympiakos were, Van Persie’s hat-trick has lifted the mood at the club’s training complex at Carrington. On the final whistle, the United manager punched the air and saluted the Stretford End. Three days earlier, after the debacle against Liverpool, he admitted to feeling ashamed.
“I could look the supporters in the face after Wednesday night because I thought we had given them something to shout about and we had nothing to be ashamed of in our performance,” he said. “In other games I’ve felt ashamed because the team haven’t played well enough.
“I came to the club to have those nights,” he added. “I came to Manchester United because I would have these nights more often than not. I still believe that my time here will have more good times than bad times. It has been a difficult initiation period but I am looking forward to the highs.”
The lows have been very deep at Old Trafford this season and Moyes remarked they tended to last longer in a manager’s mind than the peaks. Upton Park – where United play this evening – gave Sir Alex Ferguson two of the deepest troughs of his career. Twice, in 1992 and three years later, Manchester United have blown the title away to West Ham.
There have been too many false starts already for Moyes to hail a victory over Olympiakos as the start of the turning of the tide. “It was only a small glimpse, a small part of what I hope it will look like,” he said.
“What I wanted was that kind of mentality, that type of attitude. I thought from the first minute against Olympiakos that the commitment from the players was exceptional.
“I don’t think it is a false dawn by getting to the quarter-finals of the Champions League. You are in the top eight in Europe, so that is not false. But what has been false have been our performances in the Premier League. We have had some big highs in the Champions League but our lows have come in the Premier League. It needs to change.”
Antonio Valencia, who suffered a huge black eye following a clash of heads on Wednesday, is a doubt for tonight’s game. “Antonio has a real bad eye which is closed over,” Moyes said. “It is not quite settled down yet so we will need to keep an eye on it, if you’ll pardon the pun.”
Champions League draw
Barcelona v Atletico Madrid
Man United v Bayern Munich
Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund
Paris Saint-Germain v Chelsea
First legs to be played on 1 and 2 April, second legs on 8 and 9 April.
Europa League draw
AZ Alkmaar v Benfica
Lyons v Juventus
Basel v Valencia
Porto v Seville
First legs to be played on 3 April, second legs on 10 April.
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