• Premier League

Moyes will come good at United, says Rodgers

ESPN staff
March 14, 2014
Henderson: United game massive

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has backed David Moyes to come good as manager of Manchester United and says he empathises with the pressures that come with leading a big club.

The two Premier League heavyweights clash at Old Trafford on Sunday and a Liverpool victory would pile yet more pressure on Moyes, who is likely to mark his first season in charge at United by leading them to their lowest league finish since 1991.

Moyes has had a torrid first nine months in charge since replacing Sir Alex Ferguson as manager of the reigning champions, and his future is by no means secure, even though his contract runs to 2019.

Rodgers, though, can understand the pressure Moyes is under, and has backed him to succeed eventually.

"I've empathy for the pressures. There are pressures coming into a big club," Rodgers said. "I can only talk for myself, when I came in here, following Kenny, who was and still is a club legend here. But it never intimidated me. To manage at this level, you've got to have the self-confidence.

"You're not worried about who's sitting behind you in the stand, and who's up there in the clouds watching you. That doesn't happen when you're a manager at this level.

"I've empathy over the pressures that come with taking over such a huge club. But the states of the two clubs are incomparable, because they were champions. They have serial winners in there. I took this club when they were eighth. So the building and remodelling of the two clubs were totally different.

"David will be fine there. He'll get it right. It's been a steep learning curve for him. He'll have gone in there and seen things - and you've only got a certain length of time to address them. But I'm sure he'll have learned a lot this season, and he'll kick on."

Ahead of Sunday's trip to Manchester, Rodgers' side are in second place, seven points behind Chelsea, but have played a game fewer than the leaders - who still have to visit Anfield.

Liverpool's last away win over United was five years ago to the day on Friday, when Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard, Fabio Aurelio and Andrea Dossena scored in a 4-1 victory.

The 2008-09 campaign was the last time Liverpool mounted a serious title challenge, but ultimately finished second after being held to too many draws. Rodgers' side, though, have dropped only four league points in 2014, and could yet be crowned champions of England for the first time since 1990.

"We've gone into a number of away games this season at venues where we haven't done so well in the past," Rodgers said.

"The performance back in 2009 was a terrific win. It's a different group of players, it's a different mentality and a different manager. But we go into every game with the belief that we can win. And that will be no different on Sunday.

"It would put down a marker for us. We've had a number of those statistics this year. We hadn't won away at Tottenham for quite a while and we performed there and won 5-0. We hadn't won at Southampton - which was a real tough away game - for 11 years, and we won 3-0 there.

"I will take the very same approach going into this game. It's a difficult game because of the level of opponent, but we'll go in with that same aggression and confidence that we can cause problems to any opponent."

Even though Chelsea lead the way, Rodgers believes that the title is Manchester City's to lose. City are fourth in the table, two points behind Liverpool and Arsenal, and nine behind Chelsea, but have three games in hand on Jose Mourinho's side and a better goal difference.

"I've said from the very beginning that it was always Manchester City's title to lose because of the nature of their squad," Rodgers said. "And of course, now they have three games in hand, and if they win those games, they go ahead. So it's within their hands.

"But of course, Chelsea have got the points. They're ahead. And because of the squad they have, they'll see themselves as having a big opportunity as well.

"It's going to be an exciting finish. We're only concentrating on our own work, and we'll see if we can push these teams right to the very end."

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