Moyes slams Man United ahead of Boxing Day return; reveals transfer targets

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It seems like David Moyes was a day late for “Festivus: the airing of grievances.”

Still, he let it all out.

[ MORE: Boxing Day previews

The current Sunderland manager takes his side to former club Manchester United on Boxing Day (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) and in his prematch press conference he let off some steam as he prepared to head back to Old Trafford for the first time.

Moyes spoke about what United has become, plus said he was “definitely unfairly treated” after getting less than a season in charge as he was fired with a handful of games left in the 2013-14 campaign.

“Manchester United was a club with great traditions, traditions where they tended to pick British managers. That tradition has now gone,” Moyes said. “They were a football club who enjoy traditions with the way they spent. They didn’t try to compete with all the other clubs. They did what they thought was the right thing to do and spent the right way. I can say that’s gone. There have been a few changes at Manchester United but that’s the way they have chosen to go.

“Of course, they bought [Eric] Cantona and the best defender in Rio Ferdinand and looked for players, but Man United never went out there to show they had the biggest balls. Man United did what they thought was right for the football club, always. Maybe that has had to change because of the current situation. [But] Sir Alex [Ferguson] went out and bought wisely and correctly in the transfer market and what he thought he needed to do.”

Tell us how you really feel, David. All of this smacks of a man who wants to truly put a lid on his time at United once and for all. The results just weren’t good enough during Moyes’ reign at Old Trafford.

They finished in seventh place that season and lost in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals to Bayern Munich, but Moyes couldn’t transition the team from the Sir Alex Ferguson era and, in his defense, Louis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho have struggled to do that too.

Moyes also revealed that he came close to signing Gareth Bale, Cesc Fabregas and Toni Kroos during his time in charge of the Red Devils. He instead signed Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini then had to deal with the likes of Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs and others coming to the end of their careers.

Here’s how close Moyes was to bringing in Bale, Kroos and Fabregas.

“When I first went in my real target was Gareth Bale. I felt all along that Gareth Bale was a Manchester United player,” Moyes said. “I fought right until the last minute. We actually offered a bigger deal than Real Madrid. But Gareth had his mind made up on going to Real Madrid. That was, in my mind, the player I really wanted to bring to Manchester United.

The other one was Cesc Fabregas, who we thought we would get right up until the last minute. I remember when I first met Sir Alex and he always said there was a chance Ronaldo might come back. So that was the level we were targeting. I was not going out to bring in seven, eight players, because we had a squad which had just won the league.

“Toni Kroos was agreed to come in the summer. I had agreed it with Toni himself and his agent. Sometimes you don’t get deals done. Gareth Bale, we were probably behind all along, Real Madrid were well in for it. The Cesc one was disappointing. It was very close. And Toni Kroos came up in January – it was done. A lot of players come into Manchester United and have not necessarily made the difference. But I think that, given time and having got to this period, I would have hoped I would be working with a successful team now.”