David Moyes, the increasingly beleaguered Manchester United manager, admits he urgently needs to buy new players in the January transfer window but confesses that it may not be possible to do so.
The Scotsman was talking in the wake of another major disappointment for his club as United, record 11-times winners of the FA Cup, were knocked out at home in the third round by Swansea.
The 2-1 defeat marked United’s fourth home loss in their last six games at Old Trafford and just the second time in 29 years that the club have been knocked out in the third round of the competition.
Moyes only brought in Marouane Fellaini, from his former club Everton, after taking over at Old Trafford in the summer and with every growing setback, pressure is mounting on him to improve a squad that is looking well below par and which was without seven injured first-team players on Sunday.
“I said I would try but probably would be doubtful in January because of the window but I think I have been saying it fairly consistently,” said Moyes of his efforts to sign new talent this month. “There is an urgency that we would like to bring people in but are those players available in January?
“So there is no point in me hyping it up because the players we would like to bring in are probably not available in January, not because we don’t want to do it.”
The most glaring absentees from the United side were forwards Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, while the late dismissal of young defender Fabio certainly did not aid United’s cause as they fell to a last minute goal from Wilfried Bony.
However, Moyes refused to use the absence of key personnel as an excuse for a defeat which also featured a goal for Wayne Routledge and a quick United reply from Javier Hernandez.
“That is no excuse,” he said. “We had a very strong team out, just about every player we had out was an international player, maybe Alex Buttner wasn’t but the others are internationals.
“It shouldn’t be that. We put out a really strong team, lots of international players, everyone is getting an opportunity to show what they can do and hopefully then I will make the decisions from that.
“The way we are I think the way we are we need to win, We have to make sure we find a solution to win. Part of the job is finding a way of winning. It doesn’t matter what style, whatever you do, you have to find a way of winning and that’s what we have to do.”
United and Moyes at least have the opportunity to respond quickly, with a League Cup semi-final first leg awaiting in Sunderland on Tuesday although Rooney and Van Persie remain major doubts for the tie.
“It has been a tough start, a tough opening period,” said Moyes. “I am disappointed we have not won more games or played better but I am sure it will change, I have no doubt about that.”
Swansea, who won at Old Trafford for the first time on their 11th attempt dating back 83 years, were good value for the victory with manager Michael Laudrup praising his players for retaining their confidence despite bringing a run of seven games without a win into the tie.
“It’s very special,” he said. “It’s a great day for the players and the fans as well. It’s another game where we showed confidence, which I think we’ve done in the last games as well. We just needed a win.
“I’ve been asked if that special thing about Old Trafford has changed because four teams had won here before us but the reason why some stadiums are very special – Old Trafford, Bernabeu, Camp Nou and so on – it’s because of the history of the clubs, not because of what has happened in one, two or three seasons. Coming here and winning will always be something special.”
Swansea reward is a trip to either Birmingham City, Bristol Rovers or Crawley Town in the fourth round.