Last night Manchester United progressed to the fourth round of the Capital One Cup with a 1-0 victory over arch-rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford.
Both teams fielded strong teams in a competition most Premier League teams seem to treat as an inconvenience.
United definitely would not have fielded such a strong line-up if it had not been for the fact that Liverpool were their opponents and in truth United boss David Moyes needed the victory.
Last weekend’s 4-1 defeat at city rivals Manchester City was a tough one to take for United fans and some were getting very restless about Moyes and his team. I even heard some United fans rather ludicrously claiming that Moyes should go.
Unfortunately in modern football managers do lose their jobs after just a few months in charge. There was never any danger of Moyes leaving Old Trafford after the City defeat, but he needed a morale boosting victory in the league cup.
I doubt that the league cup will ever be very high up on Manchester United’s list of priorities. However, it was not so much that the team wanted to progress to the next round that motivate the Red Devils, it was who they were playing.
Liverpool at home was the perfect game for the Red Devils to face after their hammering at Eastlands last weekend. Had they been playing lower league opposition or someone else maybe the players would have been less motivated to win and the fans would not have been so vocal.
United may not been able to field their first choice eleven, but it certainly was not a weak team that took to the field against their bitter-rivals.
United’s start to the season has raised doubts about David Moyes’ ability to manage the club. This is normal practice in these days of managers losing their jobs at the drop of a hat. Moyes now has the nickname the ‘Chosen One’, because he was selected by former-United boss Sir Alex Ferguson to be his successor.
The veteran boss had tracked Moyes progress for the last decade and even had a few heated debates with his compatriot. However, Moyes always seemed to impress Ferguson with his managerial ability.
Moyes would not have been chosen if the United hierarchy did not have faith in Ferguson’s ability to spot talent. Ferguson has been in the game long enough to be able to judge a coaches ability to manage players.
If people doubt that David Moyes is the right man for the job then they are also questioning Ferguson’s judgement, which must count as treason at Old Trafford surely?
Whether Ferguson chose Moyes or not, the victory over Liverpool was badly needed. Moyes was criticised for his decisions against the big teams when he was boss of Everton. His record against the big teams so far this season is also poor.
Those question marks will remain against the Scot until he does pull off a Premier League victory against one of the big teams in the top-flight. This victory did prove that he has the ability to guide his team to a victory in a big game though.
The former-Everton boss has recently revealed that he always expected the start of his United career to be difficult. The fixture list was not kind to United or Moyes either with games against Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City all coming in the first five Premier League games.
Even if the Capital One Cup is not United’s priority for this season the win over Liverpool could be a catalyst to better things ahead for United. The Red Devils currently sit below Moyes old-club Everton in the early Premier League table.
United have to try and keep in touch with the teams above them. The season is early and there are plenty of games left. A couple of wins and United could be back at the top of a very congested Premier League table.
David Moyes will have breathed a big sigh of relief after this victory. The Scot will be looking for his team to return to winning ways in the Premier League this weekend when they host West Brom at Old Trafford.
Where does the Capital One Cup lie in United’s priorities this season?