Toothless United worry Moyes
30 September 2013, 08:55
Manchester - Manchester United manager David Moyes admits his team's lack of cutting edge
is giving him serious grounds for concern following a shock home defeat by West
Moyes's side have not scored from open play in the Premier League since
their 4-1 victory at Swansea City on the opening weekend of the season.
The run continued when they were deservedly beaten 2-1 by West Brom on
Saturday, making it three defeats in Moyes's first six league games in charge
and United's worst start to a season since 1989.
Moyes had previously complained about a difficult opening to the campaign
that saw his side take on Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City over the
course of the first five games.
After heading to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League in mid-week, they
travel to Sunderland next weekend before a pair of back-to-back home matches in
the Premier League.
Moyes's only major addition in the summer was midfielder Marouane Fellaini
and despite the lack of any attacking signings, he is adamant he has the
options at his disposal to resolve the goal-scoring issue.
"I'm concerned, but only because we didn't play well (against West
Brom). There's a lot of games to go and we can put it right in the games to
come," he said.
"It's not from the lack of trying or lack of forward players. There are
plenty of forward players out there. It's just not quite opening teams up the
way we would like and we need to try to do that better.
"We missed that spark, which would have been something just to go on
and make the difference and make it happen. If we'd got the goal, it would have
"West Brom deserved it no question, and I can't argue with that."
Robin van Persie, who had missed the previous two games with a groin
problem, came off the bench against West Brom as United looked to force a way
back into the game.
Moyes is hopeful that Van Persie will be fit enough to start Wednesday's
match in Ukraine.
"I hope so. He's not missed an awful lot," said Moyes, whose team
slipped to 12th in the standings.
"His injury was a small injury and hopefully he'll be back. Our plan
was to give him some time and give him 15 or 20 minutes."
Moyes replaced Japan international Shinji Kagawa with youngster Adnan
Januzaj at half-time.
Kagawa has rarely been used in his preferred position behind the striker
since signing from Borussia Dortmund last year, but Moyes says that is not an
excuse for below-par performances.
"We want Shinji to feel he's getting an opportunity to show what he can
do and his best position may be number 10," the manager said.
"But even for Japan he plays off the left as well, so it's not
something which is strange to him or not his position. He's used to that.
"But there's a lot of competition here and we want to push each other
on to give performances and improve."
Anderson hit the crossbar for United with a header in the opening period,
before France international Morgan Amalfitano opened the scoring shortly after
halftime with a magnificent solo run and dinked finish.
Wayne Rooney equalised with a free-kick, but West Brom pulled ahead again
when Saido Berahino drove in.
West Brom manager Steve Clarke feels his team's aspirations are beginning to
change when they travel to grounds like Old Trafford.
"It's not about the fear factor. The biggest thing is if we're trying
to grow as a club and a team," he said.
"We've been in the Premier League for a number of years and we're
trying to change the mindset.
"West Bromwich Albion have always been capable of coming to these sorts
of places and been able to defend doggedly for 90 minutes and nick a winner or
a draw, but I want to try to win the game and we achieved that."