Adnan Januzaj predictability helps Manchester United manager David Moyes sleep easy at night

Victory over Swansea on Saturday was the fifth win in six Premier League games

Football Correspondent

David Moyes had just secured his fifth Premier League win in six games late on Saturday night when he was asked had he slept the night before – "Last night? I sleep great every night," said the Manchester United manager – and whether he had been more nervous before this game than any other. "(Pause) No. No. Not at all." Perspective is hard to come by on this rollercoaster ride.

The fanzines are showing most of that quality. This was from Red Issue: “Moyes asked to be judged after two years and whatever your opinion, and whatever the results (within reason!), fairness dictates that’s a sensible time frame given the scale of the job he’s taken on."

The 2-0 win over Swansea City (first half not so good; second half good) told us what we more or less suspected: that the team are not in free-fall. The result was significant only by keeping United in touch with the teams who will be fighting for fourth spot, with Liverpool’s presence on the margins of that territory still pointing to the possibility that those two most inveterate old foes will be fighting for that position. The symmetries mean it will be do-or-die, because United need fourth to help them keep Wayne Rooney. Liverpool need it to retain Luis Suarez.

The two meet at Old Trafford on March 15, at the end of a 29-day period in which United also travel to the Emirates and host Manchester City. That’s when the pips will really squeak. They have taken five points from a possible 18 this season against the current top six teams and beaten only one of them. The Red News fanzine was rightly delving into the statistics of the top four at the weekend – observing that the teams who finished fourth in the last ten seasons had totalled 73, 69, 68, 70, 72, 68, 67, 61 and 60 points. If we take the median 68 points as a target, United need 31 from 17 games. Eight wins, six draws and three defeats would be enough. Essentially, the top four still looks on. Touch-and-go, but on.

So much is contingent on Adnan Januzaj continuing to be the jewel in the crown, week after week. Moyes, talking up the future in a way he should do far more, late on Saturday, revealed that whilst seeing this prodigy in the teenage “Wayne category” – possessing all the ability and fearlessness he saw in Rooney at Everton – he is “slightly different” to the Liverpudlian. “He is a real calm boy. He looks after himself in a great way. His father has really helped him a lot,” Moyes said. “Because of that he is steeped in football. He works and he lives for it.”

Januzaj is, in other words, offers predictably: a quality in lamentably short supply for Moyes. He doesn’t expect Robin van Persie to be missing for six weeks though can’t guarantee he’ll be back before. (The striker’s presence in the stands at Old Trafford, every now and then, would at least give the sense that Moyes’ battle is his own battle.) Neither can he be sure that Rooney will be back from his warm weather training in Egypt to face Chelsea on Sunday. But Januzaj – certainly good enough to trouble Cesar Azpilicueta at Stamford Bridge – does offer assurances.

He was a mere rumour to the United manager, when he took over United in June. “Somebody had said to me ‘have you seen the young boy in the reserves?’ and I knew a little bit about him because his name had been mentioned to me,” Moyes said. “But I didn’t know enough about him.”

The Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup has seen enough about life at the very pinnacle of football to know a lot about the fragility of such a prodigy. “I don’t know him personally so I can’t say what he’s like as a person,” Laudrup said. “I’m only looking from the outside but I hope he’s the kind of player who knows he will have to develop and move on and on and on - not think that just because you’ve played ten games in the Premier League then you’re already there at the top. They come and watch you in the stadium and see you with the shirt on but at 18, 19, 20 years old you’re still a boy. It’s very important you’re at the right club with the right people around you - family, friends, who advise you. Otherwise, sometimes unfortunately, you can see players who play ten or 15 games at the top level and everyone tells them they’re so great and they believe it and think they’re already in the top three in the world and…”

He didn’t need to finish the sentence, which Moyes - passing by in the corridor as the Dane reached this conclusion - didn’t hear. The United manager knows all about the attendant risks, though, and given the state of his Old Trafford inheritance, they really are something to lose sleep about.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
News
news

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
Life and Style
View of champagne glasses at a beach bar set up along the Croisette during the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes on May 17, 2013
food + drink(and for now, there's a clear winner)
News
The author PD James, who died on 27 November 2014
people

Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94

Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
arts + ents
Life and Style
tech

Sites using the popular Gigya comment platform were attacked by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA)

Extras
indybest
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?