• Champions League

Moyes weighs up Nani gamble

ESPN staff
March 19, 2014
Moyes must win now

David Moyes is weighing up whether to throw Nani and Ryan Giggs into his Manchester United side for Wednesday's do-or-die Champions League clash with Olympiakos, according to the Times.

United's season reached a new low on Sunday with bitter rivals Liverpool humbling them 3-0 at Old Trafford. It left Moyes' side in seventh place, 12 points off the top four and 18 points behind leaders Chelsea, with key figures in the Old Trafford boardroom turning against the manager.

It was better for United in black and white

David Moyes must wish Bryan Robson was at his peak for United now © PA Photos
  • David Moyes have vowed to give the Manchester United fans a night to remember as they fight to stay in the Champions League against Olympiakos on Wednesday.
  • He has urged his players to draw on the memories of the last time United won a European tie after losing the first leg 2-0, when Bryan Robson inspired Ron Atkinson's team to a 3-0 victory over Barcelona in the Cup Winners' Cup in 1984.
  • "The support inside Old Trafford has been phenomenal," Moyes said. "We need to give something back: me, the team, we need to give them a night to remember.
  • "If we can go through it would be a massive lift. We know we have got ourselves in a poor position.
  • "It is only twice Manchester United have done that [come back from 2-0 down]. It is not something that has happened a lot but it is something we have to make happen."

There have even been suggestions that Holland coach Louis van Gaal, who had been expected to move to Tottenham in the summer, would be in the running to replace Moyes if the wavering Glazer family decide to act.

The predicament at United, last season's Premier League champions, is such that they must overturn a 2-0 deficit against the Greek champions to progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

So for Moyes to gamble on the fitness of Nani and Giggs and go on to the attack would be bold, a far cry from the unimaginative approach fans have started to bemoan.

A serious hamstring injury has kept Nani from featuring for United since the 1-0 home defeat to Newcastle at Old Trafford on December 7 and the winger only returned to full training last week.

Moyes said last Friday he was confident his staff could get Nani "up to speed very quickly".

Nani, who signed a new five-year deal at the club in September, has made only 10 appearances for United this season. His only goal came in the 5-0 win at Bayer Leverkusen - his solitary Champions League outing.

Giggs on the other hand has only been on the pitch for a total of 81 minutes in the past two and a half months. The club were forced to deny reports of a bust-up between the player and Moyes earlier this week, saying Giggs was "fuming" over the "total and utter rubbish" claims.

Danny Welbeck is also expected to start against Olympiakos in support of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie in attack, with January signing Juan Mata ineligible having featured for Chelsea in the competition earlier this season.

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