David Moyes wants Manchester United to up their game in their pre-season match against the A-League All-Stars on Saturday.
New United manager Moyes saw his side lose his first game in charge when they went down to a shock 1-0 reverse to a Thailand All-Stars side in Bangkok last weekend.
And while the former Everton bosswas quick to stress the pre-season is more than just about results, he is also well aware too many defeats at a big club like United is not acceptable – even in friendlies.
“I felt the fitness was good in tough conditions overall but want to see the play improve as well,” Moyes said.
“We had opportunities to score so I’d like to see that improve; we gave away one or two chances which I didn’t like so I’d like to see that improve as well.
“There’s things we’re building on but it is still pre-season for us … but we want a step up from where we were in Thailand.”
Moyes confirmed he would give most of his squad some game time against the All-Stars, including star striker Robin van Persie.
The Dutchman played a key role in United’s Premier League title-winning campaign last season, and the new manager admitted he has been in awe of Van Persie in his first week of training.
“His control, his touch, his awareness, just in the small games we’ve played and bits of finishing we’ve done this week. I’ve been really impressed with his professionalism as well,” Moyes said.
“He’s gone about his work and never complained about a thing.
“What we’re doing is trying to get him into a condition to do exactly what he did last year which was score goals for Manchester United and was a really big influence on the team.”
All-Stars skipper Brett Emerton is one person hoping Van Persie will still be somewhat rusty on Saturday after his extended close-season break.
Emerton is no stranger to playing against United from his time with Blackburn and insists his side is excited – not daunted – by facing the English champions.
“The pressure is still on Manchester United to go out and beat us,” the Sydney FC star said.
“We are just concentrating on doing the A-League proud. We just want to make the fans happy.
“We are involved in a code that has massive global appeal but sometimes here it’s been hard to get people to understand what that means.
“There’s interest in everything that happens with that football club, and that’s great for us.”