Manchester United forward Adnan Januzaj compared to Lionel Messi by David Moyes in terms of resilience to bad tackles

 

San Sebastian

Manchester United caused a minor stir on Monday night by arriving here and asking to leapfrog the home side’s press conference, which was scheduled to take place first. It was subsequently put to Real Sociedad’s manager that they were behaving like jefes de Europa “chiefs of Europe”. Even Attila the Hun was mentioned.

Jagoba Arrasate, a serious man and the Real coach, brushed off that idea, though he said that the Basque club – whose recent revival in La Liga mirrors United’s in the Premier League – could give David Moyes’ side a susto, a scare inflicted by an underdog in the local vernacular. United will not fret. Their new-found domestic resilience has given Moyes a fresh breeziness. He grinned a lot last night and was almost garrulous by recent standards on the subject of 18-year-old Adnan Januzaj needing protection from brutal challenges. Moyes also revealed that he is in no hurry to collect pearls of wisdom from Sir Alex Ferguson’s autobiography. Though pictured with it at Manchester Airport early in the day, he declared: “I’ve not read it yet. I’ve not opened a page yet.”

Follow the latest news from tonight's Champions League ties, including Manchester United and Manchester City

United will be virtually through to the knockout stage of the Champions League if they win tonight, reaching the golden 10-point target which Ferguson so often spoke of if they do. Though Basque territory has never been fruitful – two defeats to Athletic Bilbao is what they have had to show across the years – continental competition has been smoother so far than domestic contests for Moyes. The Scot’s only concern was Januzaj. He spoke as the Football Association announced it had charged Fulham’s Sascha Riether with violent misconduct following his ugly challenge on the teenager during United’s 3-1 win at Craven Cottage on Saturday. Riether is the first player to have been charged retrospectively under a new FA pilot project for potential “not seen” incidents in Premier League matches.

The United manager compared Januzaj to Lionel Messi in his ability to pick himself up from illegal challenges and continue to perform. And though he saw the headlines running away with him and qualified himself – “I’m not in any way comparing Adnan to Lionel Messi so don’t be saying that,” he hastily added – Moyes does see the Argentine’s temperament in the young winger. “I’m certainly saying [he mirrors] the way Lionel Messi gets up after being kicked. We hope that’s the way Adnan continues to behave too. But he does need a little bit of protection.” Riether’s challenge was “a bad stamp,” Moyes said. “And it does look deliberate. We [don’t want to] find he is getting kicked up and down. I do think he deserves a little bit more than he is getting at this time.”

Arrasate admitted his side are in a lower stratosphere to United – “It’s difficult to compare our teams. You have to look at our budget. The objectives of the teams are very different,” he said – and Real are already 17 points off the top of La Liga. But they have scored 10 goals in three games since they lost narrowly at Old Trafford two weeks ago. The atmosphere can be as intense at the Anoeta as the rain storm which greeted United and persisted throughout most of afternoon, while the Spaniards’ prime incentive is the fact that defeat will mean the end of their Champions League hopes. “Many of our fans who went to Old Trafford spent a lot of money doing it,” Arrasate said. “Some are going through financial difficulties but they still went. Hopefully, now we can win and dedicate the win to our fans.”

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
love + sex
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
News
people
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn