London: Manchester United do not have enough world-class players to win the Champions League, manager David Moyes said as he effectively wrote off his own team’s chances in Europe’s elite club competition.
The Premier League champions have made their worst league start in 24 years after Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat by West Bromwich Albion marked a third loss in their opening six matches.
Their only significant transfer-window signing was Belgium midfielder Marouane Fellaini after their pursuit of Barcelona’s Cesc Fabregas failed and media reports of interest in bringing back Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid came to nothing.
“To win the Champions League, you need five or six world-class players,” Moyes said on Sunday.
“Look at Bayern Munich, they have it. Look at Barcelona, who had it in the past and Real Madrid, who may have got it now. That’s the level you have to be at to win Champions League. We’ve not got that yet but what we have got is experience.”
United have made a bright start to their Champions League campaign, beating Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 in their Group A opener at Old Trafford earlier this month.
Their next game is a tricky trip to Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday. The three-time European champions have suffered disappointment in their past two continental campaigns, going out in the group stage in 2011/12 and losing in the last 16 to Real Madrid last season.
Talking about United’s loss on Saturday, Moyes said, “You’re always going to have bad results in football, it is how you deal with them,” he said after the shock 1-2 defeat at Old Trafford.
“We will move on and look forward to the next one. There are lots of games here and you get ready for the next one. I’m concerned only because we didn’t play well. We can put it right.”
While Moyes can rightly play down talk of a crisis, he will be aware that the boos heard around the stadium at the final whistle were a rare occurrence under his predecessor.
“Neither did we defend well, nor did we attack well,” Moyes added. “We had a lot of ball possession in the first half but couldn’t make the most of it.”
He also pointed out that with the attacking players at their disposal, United should have gone on to win on Saturday after Wayne Rooney cancelled out Morgan Amalfitano’s opener.
“When we got back in, I expected us to win the match with the talent we have got,” he added. “Our intensity was not good enough in the first half, we tried to pick it up in the second half but we got done by it as well (on the break).”
Moyes was hand picked by Ferguson to assume the reins and Saturday’s defeat comes on the back of media reports in Spain that Jose Mourinho was devastated to be overlooked for the job. (Reuters)