DAVID Moyes remains confident that he will not be sacked despite a woeful debut season in charge of Manchester United.
The Old Trafford side suffered their latest disappointment on Sunday when they lost 3-0 at home to old foes Liverpool. That defeat left United seventh in the Barclays Premier League, 14 points adrift of the top four with just nine matches remaining.
It is understood the United board are not considering replacing Moyes at this time, but the crucial support of the club’s fans will surely disappear if results and performances do not improve.
Moyes came out fighting against suggestions he is living on borrowed time, telling a press conference ahead of tonight’s Champions League last-16 second leg against Olympiakos at Old Trafford: “My future has not changed one bit. I have got a great job, I know exactly the direction I want to go in.”
Moyes said he had not had any discussions with the board about his future, but he remains convinced United will stick by him. Recent conversations with his predecessor Sir Alex Ferguson, and other leading members of the board have given the former Everton manager the feeling that he remains secure in his position.
“(Ferguson) has been incredibly supportive,” Moyes said. “I speak with him regularly and I see him at the games. I always have a few minutes with him. He is very supportive. He told me before I came in it was a difficult job but he is always here to help. Him, (director) David Gill, (vice-chairman) Ed (Woodward), all the board are very supportive.
“The biggest assurance is that they let me get on with the job, we never discuss it (Moyes’ position). We talk about the future, we are making big plans for years going forward. That is why they gave me a six-year contract because this is not a club that works on a short-term vision, it works on a long-term vision.”
Nothing typified United’s underwhelming season as much as the 2-0 defeat by Olympiakos three weeks ago. The Greeks had lost all four previous meetings with United, but a team containing unheralded Greek players, ageing South Americans and an Arsenal loanee had no trouble rolling over Moyes’ team. Only five teams in the last 22 years have overturned a deficit of two goals or more in the competition. The last time United achieved such a feat was 30 years ago against Barcelona.
The odds may be stacked against his team, but Moyes has not given up hope of qualifying for the quarter-finals even though Sunday’s defeat by Liverpool piled even more pressure on the manager.
“When you lose in the fashion we did to one of our biggest rivals, there is always a lot of disappointment,” the Scot said. “But the first thing I mentioned to the players after the game was that we need to start giving something back, we need to start performing together to get a performance and give (the fans) a night to remember. It is not something that has happened a lot but it is something we believe we have to make happen.
“The players know they can play better and hopefully they can show it tomorrow night.”
Moyes will be without defenders Chris Smalling (hamstring) and Jonny Evans (calf), while Juan Mata is cup-tied. Moyes confirmed that midfielder Shinji Kagawa will feature at some point.
Unlike United, Olympiakos have had little trouble defending their domestic title this year. A 2-0 win over Panthrakikos on Saturday ensured Olympiakos won the Greek Super League with five matches to spare.
In tonight’s other Champions League round of 16 tie, Zenit St Petersburg face Borussia Dortmund in Germany, 24 hours after appointing Andre Villas-Boas coach in place of the sacked Luciano Spalletti. Caretaker Sergey Semak will be in charge tonight, with last year’s beaten finalists Dortmund 4-2 up on the Russians from the first leg.