New Manchester United boss David Moyes admits matching Alex Ferguson is 'impossible'
Matching Sir Alex 'impossible' admits new boss, who taps Neville and Giggs to join coaching team
Reuters in Manchester
New Manchester United manager David Moyes is under no illusion that matching the glittering record of his predecessor Alex Ferguson was anything other than "impossible".
Holding his first news conference since taking over the Old Trafford hot seat, Moyes said he was far from being intimidated at the prospect of the now retired Ferguson watching proceedings from the directors' box and instead welcomed his presence.
"Sir Alex will never go away, you can see his stand, you can see his statue, he's always going to be here and he is someone I will use for advice," the former Everton manager said. "I've already called him two or three times for some advice on matters."
Outside Old Trafford a man was selling scarves emblazoned with "Sir Alex Ferguson, the Godfather" as yet another reminder of the big shoes Moyes is filling after his fellow Scot's 26-year reign that netted 13 Premier League titles.
Moyes, who never won a trophy in 11 years at Everton, said while it would be "impossible" to repeat Ferguson's record, he was driven to continue United's success and took his self-belief from the fact he had been hand-picked by his predecessor.
"I had no idea whatsoever until Sir Alex gave me a call asking me to come to his house, I was expecting him to say, 'I'm going to take one of your players' or something else," he said.
"And I went in and the first thing he said to me was, 'I'm retiring'. I said, 'When?' and he said, 'Next week', and his next words were, 'And you're the next Manchester United manager'.
"So I didn't get the chance to say 'yes' or 'no'. I was told that I was the next Manchester United manager by Sir Alex, so for me that was enough.
"As you can imagine, the blood drained from my face and I was really shocked."
Moyes has got over that now and one of his first moves has been to inject some sense of continuity after the huge upheaval at the club by appointing Wales winger Ryan Giggs as player-coach and former United defender Phil Neville as a coach.
"I wanted to make sure I had connections to what had happened here," said Moyes, who also approached recently retired midfielder Paul Scholes who for now wanted to spend time with his family instead.
"I wanted to make sure I had some young members of staff behind me as well," he added.
Moyes is hoping to strengthen his squad in the close season and also said he was keen to nurture academy talent as he seeks to continue bringing silverware to the Old Trafford trophy cabinet.
"All I can do is do what David Moyes has done before. I'll definitely continue the traditions of Manchester United, but I also need to put my own stamp on the club," said Moyes, who has been appointed on a six-year deal.
"Sir Alex did the same. I'm very fortunate that I'm taking over the champions of England. Not many managers have that same starting point."
He did not name any transfer targets, declining to comment on media reports United could be interested in bringing back Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid as he said he did not discuss players who were under contract at other clubs.
"This club is always interested in the best players," Moyes said.
He did not want to prioritise any one competition, saying the aim was always to win them all.
"My job is to continue the success at this club," he said. "This club is about winning trophies. I'm hungry to do it, I'm driven to succeed. It won't change me, though. I'm determined to get the first one on the board.
Moyes' first matches in charge will be on United's pre-season tour later this month, which takes the squad to Thailand, Australia, Japan, Sweden and Hong Kong.
The serious business of the defence of their Premier League title begins midway through August when their first five matches feature encounters with Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool.
"I'm not convinced that's the way the balls came out of the hat," said Moyes, jokingly.
"I've looked back over the past five years and I've never seen Manchester United get a tougher start in any Premier League season."