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FA & League Cups

Manchester United are in alien territory admits David Moyes, but the club on 'the verge of turning' following Capital One Cup defeat to Sunderland

But manager rejects the idea that the presence of Sir Alex Ferguson in the stand was unhelpful

Manchester United manager David Moyes has admitted that his club are in alien territory and that he is facing his biggest challenge of his career after another dismal performance from his side saw them deservedly beaten by Sunderland in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final.

Moyes looked as desolate and lost for solutions as he has been, during the 2-1 win for Gus Poyet's side, which condemned to a third successive defeat for the first time since 2001. Moyes again laid most of the blame for United's anaemic performance on officialdom - expressing disbelieve about Sunderland's winning penalty and the free kick from which they led.

Of the penalty he said: “The ref is in a good position to look it but the linesman gives it from behind, he can't see through Patrice Evra. It has not happened at Manchester United for a long time,” he said of the sequence of defeats.

“I've been here before. I've done it before. I have the experience. I just sense that it's on the verge of turning. Of course [it's tough] but if you're going to be in this job you need to win. It's part of football management. It's never going to be the easy ride. It was the biggest challenge getting this job,” he added

Moyes also rejected the idea that the presence of Sir Alex Ferguson in the stand was unhelpful. “He is a great sounding board for me and so is Sir Bobby [Charlton].”

United now find themselves desperate for an injection of players who are not burdened by the task which looks so much beyond them. Moyes said claims Jorge Mendes was in Manchester to conclude a deal taking Real Madrid's Fabio Coentrao to United was “not true.”

It became clear that captain Nemanja Vidic could leave for nothing this summer when his agent ruled out a contract extension at the end of the season. Vidic has only six months remaining on his current deal, and although United plan to enter discussions over extending his stay at Old Trafford, his agent Silvano Martina told Italian radio that the player is keeping his options open.

“Vidic, given his contract situation, has several teams looking at him,” Martina said. “Vidic is a very good player and will have no trouble finding a new club. For the time being we are remaining calm. However, at the moment, I would rule out an extension with Manchester United.”