• Premier League

City at the level we aspire to - Moyes

ESPN staff
March 25, 2014
Manchester United manager David Moyes was left to rue a slow start as his side lost 3-0 to fierce rivals Manchester City

Manchester United manager David Moyes said rivals City are "at the sort of level we are aspiring to" after Manuel Pellegrini's side ran out 3-0 winners at Old Trafford.

City headed back across Manchester with all three points after seeing off their fiercest foes with remarkable ease - United's second successive 3-0 home defeat in the Premier League.

"We have played a very good side, playing at the sort of level we are aspiring to," said Moyes. "We need to come up a couple of levels ourselves because at the moment we are not there."

Neville: Identity crisis

Manchester United suffered a tenth league defeat of the season © Getty Images
  • Gary Neville offered a withering assessment of Manchester United under David Moyes after their latest humiliation in an abject season at the hands of rivals Manchester City.
  • Analysing the game for Sky Sports, Neville said: "They [United] need to have a rethink about where they are going.
  • "There is no pace and power going forward. At the moment they have an identity crisis."

Moyes admitted he hadn't imagined being so far off the pace in the title race this season and that it will be a long-term job to get United - who have been champions 13 times in the past 21 seasons but now sit 18 points behind leaders Chelsea - back to the top.

He said: "I thought it would be a tough year for us, no doubt about that, but I hoped we would be much more competitive and closer to the top of the league than we are. But it [rebuilding] is under way.

"You don't just suddenly change things around. As I said the other day, a lot of other clubs have had to change and they have had to do rebuilding jobs and look at the time it has taken them to do that or get to a level of competing. We hope it won't take us as long as some of those clubs have taken.

"Everyone knows this is going to be a job which is going to take a little bit of time to get the way we would like it but that is the job and I recognise that."

Moyes also said he shoulders the blame for United's abject season. Having won the title last season by 11 points under Six Alex Ferguson, United are now only in seventh place after their sixth home league defeat of the campaign.

"I take responsibility. I have to be the one who plays them, picks them and that is what it is," said Moyes.

"I don't think tonight was in any way [down to] a lack of effort or lack of commitment from the players, in fact I thought they were fully there but in some areas we didn't come up to scratch."

Moyes, who has struggled to find reasons for some of United's nine other league defeats this season, was at a loss to explain why his team began the game so poorly.

Edin Dzeko scored the third fastest goal in Manchester derby history after just 43 seconds before adding a second when he escaped from Rio Ferdinand to volley in a corner and then Yaya Toure completed the win.

"We came up against a good side, we came into the game in pretty good form ourselves and we wanted to have a go at it," added Moyes. "But I think conceding early put us on the back foot a little bit. You prepare the players, you warm them up, you do all the things to have them ready, but we just never started. It gave them a real big lift to get a goal so early on.

"We never started well. We never gave ourselves a great opportunity to get into the game. Manchester City started really fast and conceding a goal after 30 or 40 seconds made it difficult. We only touched it twice, a block and we might have kicked one out for a throw in before they got the goal.

"I didn't think we started the second half well. We brought pressure on us by our play and in the end we conceded a corner just before that and there was another one and then that led to a goal. It was obviously poor marking and we should have done much better."

The night could have been even worse for United, but Marouane Fellaini was perhaps fortunate not to see red after appearing to throw an elbow at Pablo Zabaleta.

Moyes said: "My first feeling was that Fellaini's yellow card of a foul on Pablo Zabaleta wasn't even a free-kick, but I genuinely haven't seen it again and people have said to me that it was worse than that."

David Moyes says he takes full responsibility for Manchester United's abject season © Getty Images
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
ESPN staff Close