David Moyes says Manchester United must 'improve to progress', despite reaching Champions League knock-out stage

United top group despite unconvincing home victory over Shakhtar Donetsk

Old trafford

Manchester United manager David Moyes admitted his side’s football was no better in victory over Shakhtar Donetsk than it had been in successive home defeats to Everton and Newcastle United, after a half-time dressing down from him was required to shake the side out of their malaise.

United have progressed as winners of their Champions League qualifying group, avoiding Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich until the quarter finals but former United midfielder Roy Keane said at the interval of the 1-0 win that “they don't look like a team, just a collection of individuals running around. You can defend players for making mistakes but you cannot defend players for not tackling and not getting close to people.”

Moyes said that United “as a club” were favourites to progress from the group of 16 in February – when they play their first game away – but they had to improve if they were to do so. “I think the club itself needs to be classed as one of the favourites but I think we all know we as a team have to improve if we are to keep progressing in the competition,” he said. “Hopefully we have given ourselves the best chance by winning the group. For a club like Manchester United, you always have to try to win the trophy. That's the job. I think the teams in this competition are very, very good as everyone knows. But you need to try and get better as the tournament goes on.”

The manager said he had been tough with them at half time. “To be honest, it's been that way since I came here,” he said. “We need to win matches and the players responded well to that encouragement. We passed the ball much better after we had given it away terribly in the first half and that's not like us. I didn't think we were close enough to them early on when we gave them too many opportunities and we were fortunate not to be a goal down.

But despite the first period in which the Ukrainians dominated possession and could have sealed the tie, Moyes said that he answered those who pointed to his own lack of Champions League experience.“I think you want to try and win the group,” he said. “It was a difficult group and a lot has been said [about how] I was inexperienced in the Champions League so to have my first experience, I am happy to top the group.

 “We didn’t play particularly well in the opening 30 minutes, we could have been fortunate still to be 0-0 but we missed a couple of chances just before half time ourselves. We played much better in the second half.”

As to why United had won four and drawn two of their European games while struggling domestically, Moyes said: “If I had the answer I would have solved it by now and it would all be OK.”

Keane’s sharpest criticism was directed at Ashley Young, who missed two gilt-edged chances in the first half. “He should certainly hit the target. I think it sums up his time at Man United, just not good enough,” Keane said. “David Moyes took the heat off the players before the game by saying it is his responsibility but we are talking about experienced players. Of Rio Ferdinand, who frequently conceded possession, he said: “Rio Ferdinand's decision making, the chances he has taken, it is ridiculous. It is like his debut tonight. There are big question marks over the manager and the players. That for Manchester United is certainly not good enough.'”

More on Manchester United...

Rooney rejects contract talks - reports

Five reasons why Moyes has got off to such a bumpy start

Comment: Moyes recycles endlessly for green shoots of revival

Keane slams Young as 'not good enough' and labels Rio performance 'ridiculous'

Manchester United 1 Shakhtar Donetsk 0 match report

United win will boost confidence, says Buttner

United must 'improve to progress', admits Moyes

Moyes at a loss to explain Premier League woes

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future