After suffering a humiliating 4-1 defeat at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon, David Moyes insisted his Manchester United side will improve.
The Reds were dealt a pre-match blow when the talismanic Robin van Persie was ruled out with a groin injury, but even so, few expected them to roll over without so much as a fight against their closest rivals. Goals from Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure put City 2-0 up at the break, and then they scored twice in the opening five minutes of the second half when the Argentine notched again before Samir Nasri found the back of the net.
Wayne Rooney, who was perhaps the only visiting player who showed his quality, scored a late consolation with a well-taken free-kick. But there was no doubt that the Blues fully deserved to collect maximum points, and at one stage, it looked as though they could even surpass the six goals they rattled in at Old Trafford almost two years ago.
For Moyes, it was the very sort of defeat he would have been desperate to avoid. Comparisons were immediately made with one of his predecessors darkest days, when Alex Ferguson’s United fell to a 5-1 loss at Maine Road in 1989. Of course, the Scot bounced back from this to become the most successful manager of all time, and his successor insists his own side will also improve from their own derby day nightmare.
“We’ll get better,” the former Everton boss told Sky Sports. “It’s a long season to go. We’ll put this behind us and move on. I thought Manchester City were very good. We weren’t, but City started the game really well. We really could have done with coming in at half-time 1-0, losing the second goal just before half-time changes it a little bit.
“Nevertheless, they came out strong again in the second half. I think they got a grip of the game very early on, and we didn’t. We never really got to grips with their midfield players in the early part of the game. Because of that, they started to get domination. We had to be stronger, but we weren’t. But great credit to the lads that they kept going. Whatever manager loses the game, you try and win the next one – nothing changes.”
Next up for United in a League Cup clash at home to Liverpool on Wednesday, a match which has now taken on added importance despite the competition being fourth in the list of priorities. And then on Saturday afternoon, West Bromwich Albion travel to Manchester, when Moyes will expect his side to get back to winning ways in the Premier League.