I’ve got a great job. I know exactly the direction I want to go in
David Moyes insists his job is not on the line ahead of tonight’s match against Olympiacos, maintaining the Old Trafford club are simply too big to fail.
Despite the supposed security of a six-year contract, Moyes has come under heavy pressure since his difficult first season in charge reached a new low with a 3-0 home defeat to Liverpool on Sunday.
His team, now seventh in the Premier League, must overturn a 2-0 deficit from their Champions League last 16 first-leg defeat in Athens last month.
The Scot has often struggled to convince in recent weeks with supporters increasingly frustrated at his use of words like “try” and “hope”.
But yesterday he delivered an impressive performance — some joked that it was the best display at Old Trafford of 2014 — at his pre-match press conference as he spoke with determination about the way forward for his flagging side.
Last week Robin van Persie spoke out in an attempt to quieten persistent rumours he is unhappy at United.
There were similar stories on Monday, with the club scrambling to deny claims Moyes had clashed with Ryan Giggs in the wake of the Liverpool defeat.
With the attention and focus building again ahead of the match against the Greek side, who have lost all 11 matches they have played in England, Moyes was defiant about his position.
He said: “My future has not changed one bit. I’ve got a great job. I know exactly the direction I want to go in. I’ve got ideas I’ll put in place when the time is right but we have to try to get through and it would be a massive lift.
“We’ve got ourselves in a poor position at 2-0 down but we’ve got a lot of belief and we have to make that show in the game.”
Asked what message he was getting from the club’s hierarchy, he added: “The biggest assurance is that they let me get on with the job.
“We never discuss it [my future], we talk about the future, we are making big plans for years going forward, this is why it’s a six-year contract. This is not a club that works on a short-term vision, it works on a long-term vision.
“The fans understand the period we’re all in together. They’ve seen great success here at Manchester United and they’ll see great success in the future, I’ve got no doubt about that.
“This club is too big, for me it’s the biggest club in the world and it might not be at this moment in time, it might not feel it today but I can tell you it is. It will rise again and hopefully it’s not too long (away).”
Olympiacos may boast a miserable record on British shores but the Greek side are thought to be confident ahead of tonight’s return match and are not expected to simply sit on their advantage.
Before Sunday’s defeat, Moyes continued with the theme that he has seen signs of major improvement from his team only to be let down on the field yet again.
He stands by his view that there are encouraging signals from his side and added: “I see the players every day, I have the chance to work with them every day, the qualities they show me, I think they know they can play better, I don’t think any of them are questioning that.
“But I got a belief in the players, I can see what they can do and hopefully they can show it. I agree they have not showed it as often as we’d like but we will try to make that happen.
“We’ll leave nothing behind on the night hopefully and try to somehow get through to the next round.”
Moyes’ predecessor Alex Ferguson played a key role in getting him the job last summer and the United manager says he is grateful for the backing of the 72-year-old.
“He has been incredibly supportive,” Moyes said. “I speak to him regularly. I see him at the games, I have a few minutes with him, he told me when he came in it’d be a difficult job.
“But he’s always there to help, him, David Gill, (vice chairman) Ed (Woodward), all of them are there — they are all very supportive.”
Patrice Evra is expected to follow Nemanja Vidic, who has agreed to join Inter Milan, out of Old Trafford this summer after eight years at the club and side-stepped the question of his future.
The 32-year-old France left-back has won nine major honours, including five titles, in his nine seasons with the club and could offer little insight into the dramatic change of fortunes since Moyes succeeded Ferguson.
He said: “I think in life sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. It’s a difficult moment.
“It’s a new challenge for us because we have never been in this situation, we are always playing to win the league, to win games, to win the Champions League, it’s a tough moment and you have to show your character and personality.
“I think everyone when you come on that pitch and put on the United shirt you know it’s big story, a big pressure every year and this year is more difficult than a year ago.
“But I’m still confident, I’m really excited to play that game and we focus now, we don’t want to think about Sunday, it’s gone, the past is the past.”