SYDNEY: David Moyes said he was looking forward to playing “mind games” with his Chelsea counterpart Jose Mourinho and other Premier League bosses after getting his first win as Manchester United manager in a pre-season friendly on Saturday.
The Scot and his new club have been forced to spend the week reiterating that Wayne Rooney was not for sale after the England striker was “angered and confused” by comments his manager made last weekend.
The public relations battle was made all the harder when returning Chelsea manager Mourinho came in with a bid for Rooney, a move which some saw as typical troublemaking by the Portuguese who enjoyed many a mental tussle with Moyes’s predecessor Alex Ferguson.
Asked whether he was looking forward to similar “mind games” with managers such as Mourinho in the season ahead, Moyes said his upbringing predisposed him to it.
“Sounds like your accent’s like mine,” he told his Scottish questioner. “If you’re from Glasgow you quite enjoy those sort of things. So bring it on.”
Although Moyes had said repeatedly that results were not important on the Asia-Pacific tour, he was clearly happier with United’s 5-1 victory over an A-League All Stars team than he had been with a defeat in Thailand last week.
Two goals apiece for Jesse Lingard and Danny Welbeck were topped off by a late fifth from Robin Van Persie in his first appearance in a United shirt since the end of last season.
Moyes said he would like his formation to be flexible but thought the 4-3-3-1 he played on Saturday was a good “basic structure” which he could embellish when he had players such as Nani, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young available.
Welbeck’s two goals, which matched his tally in all of last season for United, were a fitting reward for his hard work, Moyes thought, while Lingard had not only played well but “showed a lot of maturity” for a 20-year-old.
Moyes was also impressed by the contribution of another 20-year-old – England winger Wilfried Zaha who was Ferguson’s last signing before he retired.
“I thought he was unlucky not to score a couple of goals, especially in the second half,” Moyes said.
“And I thought he had some moments that nearly got you out of your seat. I think that was a promising night for him as well.”
Moyes had suggested on Friday he would have some news about United’s bid to bring in some new players, particularly Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas.
He quickly made clear on Saturday, however, that there had been no progress he was aware of.
“I’ve got no more updates on anything,” he said.