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

News
Pro-Russia rebels guard a train containing the bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 crash in Torez, Ukraine
i100
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Struggling actors who scrape a living working in repertory theatres should get paid a 'living wage', Sir Ian McKellen has claimed
theatre
News
Skye McCole Bartusiak's mother said she didn't use drink or drugs
peopleActress was known for role in Mel Gibson film The Patriot
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Damon Albarn is starting work on a new West End musical
artsStar's 'leftfield experimental opera' is turning mainstream
Life and Style
Paul and his father
artsPaul Carter wants to play his own father in the film of his memoirs
Sport
Ben Stokes trudges off after his latest batting failure for England as Ishant Sharma celebrates one of his seven wickets
cricket
Arts and Entertainment
Members of the public are invited to submit their 'sexcapades' to Russell T Davies' new series Tofu
tv
News
Sky's Colin Brazier rummages through an MH17 victim's belongings live on air
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game
arts + ents'The Imitation Game' stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley
Extras
indybest
News
i100... and no one notices
Arts and Entertainment
Friends reunited: Julian Ovenden, Richard Cant and Matt Bardock in rehearsals for the Donmar revival of 'My Night
with Reg'
theatrePoignancy of Kevin Elyot's play being revived just after his death
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor