David Moyes surely knew taking over La Liga strugglers Real Sociedad in his first job since being fired by Manchester United would be a big challenge.
But he probably didn’t expect to literally fly straight into a storm before his debut at Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday.
“We flew over this morning, and could not land, the plane came down and then went back up again,” Moyes told the Irish Examiner at the Estadio Riazor after the game.
“Then we came in and went back up again. I thought does this happen every week in Spain? It was an experience, we ended up flying into a different airport. And waiting on a bus for an hour. I though the weather was only like this in England.”
Moyes was speaking openly after his team had ground out a goalless draw in a setting not too different from a typical Premier League night game. There was even a touchline barney with Depor assistant coach Roberto Cabellud to enjoy, although the Scot admitted he had not fully followed everything as the referee sent the enraged Cabellud to the stand.
“I was in my dugout and (Cabellud) was in his,” he said with a smile. “I do not know what happened. But he seemed quite angry about something... I felt pretty much at home. It was quite comfortable. The rain, the game itself, a few tackles flying in.”
Moyes’ side began as if keen to impress their new boss, with Carlos Vela and Sergio Canales almost scoring early on. But the visitors tired in the second half, and were hanging on in the closing stages.
“I came here expecting and hoping to win, but in the end maybe a draw was the fair result,” Moyes said. “We played well enough in the first half to be ahead. Depor were the better team after the break.”
Generally speaking though, the 51-year-old was believable as he said his first La Liga experience had been fun — and is now looking forward to settling in.
“I really enjoyed it,” he said. “I do not know the players well enough to give a comprehensive view yet. But I was really pleased to be here, I have seen things where I can make the team better, improve them.
“It will take a bit of time, but hopefully we can get some quick results and see some improvements over the coming months.”
Next up is Friday’s first home game against Elche. Before that, Moyes said he had more work to do — both on the training ground and by starting language classes.
“I want to learn a new language, that is one of the challenges of coming here,” he said. “But the players have been great — three or four already speak English, and a lot of them are actually taking lessons now. It should almost be the other way round... but I do start my lessons next week.”
The coming weeks should also bring plenty more opportunities for learning on the job for Moyes, who has a Basque derby at home to Athletic Bilbao looming, and Barcelona visiting in a few weeks’ time too.
What is clear is that — despite apparently taking his time before deciding to commit to the Sociedad job — he is now keen to prove he can be a success in Spain.
“I could have taken other jobs in England, but I felt I needed to challenge myself,” he said. “I wanted to show I could come here and work. I still have to do that. There is a long way to go yet.”
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