DAVID Moyes felt his Manchester United side were unlucky to go out of the FA Cup at the third-round stage against Swansea.
Scrutiny of the Scot increased as Wilfried Bony scored a late winner to earn Swansea a 2-1 win and condemn United to a fifth home defeat of the season.
With each loss comes further questioning as to whether or not Moyes is the right man to sit in Sir Alex Ferguson’s seat, but he insisted his ten-man side had deserved better.
“We are a bit unlucky to lose but we probably didn’t do enough to win it,” Moyes, whose men are also lagging badly in the Barclays Premier League title race, said.
“We made some opportunities, not enough, and when you’re down to ten men you want to see it out and take a replay but we didn’t quite get that far.”
The red card Moyes referred to was the dismissal of Fabio for a studs-up challenge, which came with the game at 1-1 after Wayne Routledge and Javier Hernandez had traded goals.
“I have no issues (with the card). The referee called it right,” Moyes added.
“We played quite well at times, we got near the edge of the box quite regularly but didn’t make the opportunity to score a goal or when we did get an opportunity take it. That was the disappointing thing, as we went behind and came back.
“We had certain periods of good control but we didn’t get a goal or create enough chances.”
Moyes is currently short of attacking options and is without both Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney.
He does not know when to expect either man back, but insists he has to keep going.
“It’ll be great when we get them back. The sooner we get them back the better. They’re not ready yet,” he said.
“If you lose games at any club, it’s difficult. At Manchester United it’s even bigger, but that’s the job and we get on with it.”
Bony was Swansea’s match-winner with a powerful near-post header.
The Ivorian now has 13 goals in his first season with the Swans and he said after the game: “It’s good, we won, we came here not to lose and it was perfect for us. That was our wish and thank God we did it.
“I tried to do my best and if I did it today, thank you God. I am enjoying life.
“It’s now important for us to take it step by step and think about the next game.”
Former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson was watching from the stands and would have heard some – admittedly half-hearted – boos at the end.
United at least have a chance to make amends for their defeat in just 48 hours when they visit Sunderland in the first leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final, although it is clear that Moyes is facing huge problems which he has no chance of addressing in this month’s transfer window.
United were supposed to be having a much-needed diversion from their Premier League tribulations. But from early on it seemed the first of their back-to-back cup matches was going to bring more misery.
Swansea’s opener was a well-taken effort, with Routledge lifting the ball neatly over Anders Lindegaard before it dropped into the net.
But the ease with which Alejandro Pozuelo drove his pass through a massive gap between Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling to send Routledge clear for his first Swansea goal in three months was startling.
Moyes was possibly still mulling over the ease with which Swansea scored when his own side levelled three minutes later.
There could be little other explanation why the Scot was completely unmoved by Hernandez’s close-range finish to a brute of a cross from Alexander Buttner.
Even so, given the force with which Moyes has been actively pursuing left-back options since he arrived and his continued insistence Patrice Evra is not heading for the exit door, it can only be presumed Buttner’s time at United is limited. If so, at least he is going out in style.
Taking advantage of the space afforded to him by Shinji Kagawa’s preference to drift in from the left flank, Chico Flores was given a pretty uncomfortable time of it.
Buttner dropped one far-post cross agonisingly over Antonio Valencia and also curled a low free kick towards goal that was gathered up by Gerhard Tremmel. Valencia also screwed an effort over from Danny Welbeck’s lay-off as a United outfit missing Rooney and van Persie through injury searched for a second.
A flurry of activity around the home box at the start of the second half brought Swansea no reward, with Pozuelo dragging a decent opportunity wide. Bony sliced an effort off-target too, giving Lindegaard – making only his second appearance of the season – little to concern him.
Not that United were doing much to trouble their visitors either as their limitations were once again laid bare and despite winning a free kick on the edge of the Swansea area, Moyes still carried through his threat to introduce Adnan Januzaj.
The 18-year-old was not involved as Tom Cleverley took the shot at goal, which went cannoning to safety off the wall.
Shortly afterwards, Buttner overhit a cross which ballooned beyond anyone who had a hope of reaching it.
The exit of Rio Ferdinand, who took a bang on the knee in a challenge with Bony, was bad news for the 35-year-old who had only just returned from a six-match absence.
A break in play to allow for Fabio’s introduction added to the sense of a game going nowhere. The Brazilian’s exit four minutes later, having been shown a straight red card for a late challenge on Canas, prodded it into life.
Referee Mike Dean was within his rights to dismiss Fabio given his tackle was also over the top of the ball. But Canas’ theatrical reaction did not help the United man.
Following his departure came yet another home defeat as Bony rose to head home the winning goal late on, delivering another shattering blow to the beleaguered Moyes.