When David Moyes sat next to Juan Mata in his press first conference as a Manchester United player, he was beaming from ear to ear and looked ten years younger than when he walked off down the tunnel after the loss to Sunderland.
Moyes looks just as boosted by Mata’s arrival as the players are and he followed up his warning shot to the players from earlier this week with the sort of post-match discussion we’ve been waiting for.
Speaking to MUTV after the game, Moyes said: “I wanted us to score the third and carry on. I wanted the performance to be better!”
Yes, yes, yes! Attack, attack, attack. That is the sort of response we have been wanting to hear from Moyes and he went a step further by remaining strong worded even in victory.
He added: “Don’t think because I have won tonight I’m smiling and happy. With the vision I have got for the club we have got a long way to go,”
He doesn’t need to be polite anymore. He doesn’t need to say how knocked back he is by the size of United and the fan base. He doesn’t have to blame poor performances solely on unscrupulous decisions. Now, he can be cut-throat and direct with his words. Now, he can manage United instead of letting United manage him.
Everybody talked about Marouane Fellaini being given time to settle into Old Trafford but Moyes needed time more than any player and now, seven months into his tenure, he has increased his baby steps into more confident strides.
In his pre-match programme notes, that change in attitude is so apparent. He is now making the necessary changes for United to become his club.
He said: “I have been in this job for seven months now, and I feel that I have tried to give everybody an opportunity to show me, as the new manager, what their capabilities are. When I joined the club, I joined knowing that I was taking over a great squad who had just finished the season as champions, but I was also made very much aware that there would have to be changes made; namely a long-term plan and also looking within our own Academy to introduce young players to the first team as often as we feel they warrant selection. I feel now that I have had enough time to make my assessment. I have formulated my own opinions and I have a clear idea of what I think I need to do; we will rebuild and form another strong Manchester United team.
“As I have alluded to before, there will be changes at the club and tonight will be your first chance to see Juan Mata in a Manchester United shirt. He is an undoubted talent who has had a good goalscoring record at every club he has played for, and was the leading assist-maker in the Premier League last season and I feel that we have lacked moments of creativity which could lead to more scoring opportunities and chances. He is young enough to have a long career here at Manchester United and experienced enough to help us now and help improve the side. He is a player who I know our existing players are looking forward to working with as part of the squad. Juan is the first, I hope, of several new signings. Unfortunately, as I have mentioned many times, I do not think they will be coming in the current transfer window, but we are already formulating our thoughts and plans for what we would like to have here at the club by the start of next season.
“In the meantime, our priorities have changed, in as much as we know that we have to win the majority of our games. Champions League football is something that everyone at Manchester United is used to, and we will do everything we can to make sure that remains here at the club next season. We do have big Champions League games to look forward to in the near future, and I hope by the time we face Olympiacos next month, we will be back to a fully fit squad. I have done as much as I can to steer clear of talking about the cost of missing key players like Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie through injury because I see injuries as part and parcel of football, not an excuse, but to have them both out for such a long period has undoubtedly played its part in recent months and the statistics bear out their importance to us.”