David Moyes has earmarked his Manchester United side as among the ‘favourites’ to win the Champions League following last night’s 1-0 home victory over Shakhtar Donetsk.
United went through to the Champions League knockout stage as Group A winners thanks to a Phil Jones volley, avoiding potentially drawing a nightmare clash with Barcelona or Bayern Munich.
In the process they ended a four-game winless run and managed to preserve their record of 51 years without three consecutive home defeats – a turnaround of results that pleased the manager.
“I think we could be classed as one of the favourites,” said Moyes.
“It’s a tough competition, a hard one, but we will take it one game at a time.”
The pronouncement follows the Scot expressing his belief that United are still in the Premier League title race earlier this week.
As it stands – United sit 13 points off Premier League leaders Arsenal – winning the Champions League might seem like a more likely prospect, but judging by last night’s exertions they will need to drastically up their game – something that Moyes is well aware of.
“We’ll have to improve in order to progress,” he said. “A club like Manchester United has to be trying to win the trophy.”
“You have to get better as the tournament goes on.”
The 50-year-old praised his players’ experience after a hard-fought contest, admitting that United ‘didn’t play too well in the first half’ but performed better after the break.
“You can tell the players are used to Europe,” said Moyes.
“They’re comfortable in the Premier League too, but at the moment we’re not showing it.”
Phil Jones, whose second goal of the season proved the difference on the night, spoke of his relief at getting back to winning ways and hoped it would be a catalyst for a change in fortunes.
“We were creating chances and it was much better,” he said.
“Hopefully we can start a run now and kick on. It’s really time we did.”
United are seeded in Pot One for the Champions League round-of-16 draw, which will take place on Monday in Nyon.
Image courtesy of MUTV via YouTube, with thanks.