Manchester United v Everton: David Moyes keeps lid on emotions ahead of Everton's visit to Old Trafford

'I would rather get on with the game,' says former Goodison boss ahead of reunion with former club

David Moyes, the Manchester United manager, declared himself indifferent to the fact that the side he managed for 11 years will arrive at Old Trafford on Wednesday night – "I'm not that emotional a person; I would rather get on with the game" – and stated that he would be neither disappointed nor surprised if he receives any abuse from Everton supporters.

However, the prickly nature of the conversation at his pre-match press conference about the way Moyes left Goodison Park during the summer revealed a man who cares far more deeply than he would have us believe.

"I disagree. I don't think there was any animosity built up," Moyes said when such a notion was put to him about the manner of his departure from Everton. When someone broached the potential for United's pursuit of Leighton Baines – which one source suggests the club consider a done deal for next month – to create antagonism towards Moyes, he was indignant. "Ah, you've added a player in there now. You've turned that around, then..."

Of course Moyes cares about his reception by the visitors' fans – and the personal and professional challenges posed are rendered even more acute by the wonderful start Roberto Martinez has made at Goodison.

One defeat in the league all season puts Everton two points and three places above United in the table, while Moyes admitted that he has concerns about being cut adrift from the top, with the gap to leaders Arsenal now nine points.

Martinez's signings have allowed Everton to rapidly develop into a team in the new manager's image – "it's a good loan signing, but that is what it is, a loan signing, not a permanent one," Moyes said of Romelu Lukaku.

However, his own acquisition from his old club, Marouane Fellaini, continues to struggle. "Not the best of starts; this is a difficult club to join," he said of the Belgian, who is likely to be in the starting line-up.

Not unreasonably, Moyes sought to provide a sense of what he delivered at Everton across all of those years – even though a win at Old Trafford was beyond him. "The club had finished in the top 10 how many times [before I arrived]? The Premier League has been going just over 20 years, and they had a top-10 finish maybe once. In the second 10-year period, we finished in the top 10 on a regular basis. I think if someone really looked at it, they would understand and hopefully realise that I helped push the club in the right direction."

Moyes said Robin van Persie is "doing OK. He has got a chance", despite his toe problems and it is also likely that Adnan Januzaj will feature from the start again. But the pressure is all on Moyes, with Martinez claiming Everton do have the raw materials to be in the top four and – in an interesting shift of philosophy from the Moyes era – stating he would be happier playing well for 85 minutes and losing than sneaking a win.

"We need to have a substance to our performance so we can take ourselves on to the next level," Martinez said. "It's about the long term."

The Spaniard has moved on from his Wigan days, too: his programme notes are signed off with solo lo mejor ("only the best") these days, not sin miedo ("without fear").

Moyes revealed that he remains in contact with his former chairman at Everton, Bill Kenwright, but in keeping with everything else in the conversation he insisted that he had not for one moment mentally rehearsed how he would respond to his new team scoring against the one in which he invested over a decade of his life. "I've not planned it. I've not thought about it," he said.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence