David Moyes

David Moyes feeling the heat, hits back at rumors of dressing room split at Manchester United

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On the eve of a season-defining game, Manchester United boss David Moyes has hit out at critics trying to derail his side. Many would argue he’s doing a pretty good job of that himself.

Regardless, rumors of a dressing room rift between Moyes and his players have been circling for months and with the likes of Nemanja Vidic on the way out, plus speculation about Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra and Robin van Persie all unhappy playing for Moyes, the Scottish manager has finally moved to quell any suggestions that he has lost the locker room.

“A lot of people are trying to divide us in some way or not keep us together,” Moyes said in an exclusive interview with the clubs TV station, MUTV. “I can only tell people what they’re hearing or what they are saying is rubbish.”

(MORE: Champions League Preview – With blindfold and cigarette, Moyes faces the firing line)

With a massive second leg of their last 16 UEFA Champions League tie coming up against Olympiakos on Wednesday, Moyes’ men must overturn a 2-0 deficit from the first leg to make it into the quarterfinals of the UCL. Right now, success in Europe’s elite club competition is the only thing that’s keeping the Red Devils going. Even that’s hanging by a thread, with Moyes under increasing pressure to deliver results in his dreadful first season in charge.

A monumental night awaits, as its simply win or bust for the the English powerhouse against Olympiakos.

Any lingering hopes they had of finishing in the top four of the Premier League were ended last Sunday in that crushing 3-0 home defeat to Northwest rivals Liverpool, so now everything is aimed at getting as far as they possibly can in the UCL. For most of this ill-fated 2013-14 season, this tournament has acted as a release for Moyes and his players after the intense pressure of the post-Ferguson era has visibly eaten away at the playing and coaching staff.


Time and time again people question whether or not Moyes was the right man to take the reins, but with this Fergie-esque rallying cry for togetherness before United’s biggest test of the campaign, he may yet get the best out of his under performing stars. Once again, that siege mentality has returned to Old Trafford after it had hung around for most of Ferguson’s time in charge. ‘Us against them, Man United against the world.’

For Moyes and Manchester United, this is judgement day. There’s no going back, in his first-season at the helm Moyes may have to win against Olympiakos, or kiss goodbye to his job. Seriously. He deserves more time, but this is a results business.

And, as you probably already know, United ain’t getting ’em.

Remember, we will have recaps, analysis and reactions from all the UEFA Champions League action right here on ProSoccerTalk.

VIDEO: Marco Verratti plays a brilliant pass to Eder for Italy goal

PALERMO, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06:  Marco Verratti of Italy in action during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier match between Italy and Bulgaria on September 6, 2015 in Palermo, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
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Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.

The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.

The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.

Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.


Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.

Agent: Liverpool contacted Klopp only after Rodgers firing

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 09:  Jurgen Klopp arrives to be unveiled as the new manager of Liverpool FC at a press conference at Anfield on October 9, 2015 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
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As soon as Brendan Rodgers was dismissed by Liverpool on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp’s name was tossed around as the likely successor to the then-vacant Liverpool managerial position.

However, according to Klopp’s representatve Marc Kosicke, Liverpool did not make contact with the German until after Rodgers had been officially let go.

“The first call from Liverpool came after the dismissal as coach of Rodgers,” Kosicke told Bild. “Before Liverpool there were naturally quite a few inquiries. But Jurgen always asked me not to take it any further.”

Club management was less committal than Klopp’s rep, but did say they had their eye on the German for some time. “We have learned to keep certain matters confidential. We had a meeting recently with Jurgen that he has talked about and I don’t want to talk too much about these conversations. But we have thought about him for a long time and everyone who knows football knows he is an outstanding manager.”

It’s relatively hard to believe Liverpool would have canned Rodgers without knowing for sure that a top-level target such as Klopp or Carlo Ancelotti were on board to replace him. It also would mean discussions of the contract terms and logistics would have moved at lightning speed, with just four days between the Rodgers dismissal and Klopp’s official unveiling.