Manchester United: David Moyes Versus Jose Mourinho Is Monday's Key Battle
It's been a testing summer for David Moyes, but it was always going to be.
Moyes has negotiated a tough-looking opening fixture away at Swansea thanks to a functional, if not thrilling, performance. But now comes the real test, Chelsea at home in his first game at Old Trafford.
Moyes said himself that he's in the job to win trophies, and to do that he needs to win games against Chelsea.
In his way stands Jose Mourinho after his return to Stamford Bridge this summer.
During Mourinho's first spell in West London, Moyes' Everton never beat Chelsea.
In eight games, the closest he got was three draws and a 3-2 defeat at Goodison Park in December 2006, a game Everton led until Chelsea scored twice in the last 10 minutes.
As manager of United, it's in games against Chelsea that Moyes will earn his money.
He'll find that, given the quality of his squad, there are some games that can be won simply because his team is superior.
Sir Alex Ferguson was a master of keeping it simple when the situation allowed, sending out a team to win a game with the minimal amount of fuss. It's a skill Moyes will learn in time.
But tackling Mourinho will test Moyes' ability as a manager. The Portuguese coach is smart, adaptable and thinks quickly during the 90 minutes.
His Real Madrid team were on the back foot at Old Trafford last season until Nani was harshly sent off.
But as Sir Alex marched down the steps of the dugout to confront the linesman and the referee, Mourinho was readying Luka Modric, who scored the goal which tipped the balance of the tie. The sending off was a game-changer. Mourinho reacted; Ferguson didn't.
But perhaps the most important battle will be fought on the touchline, Moyes against the master.
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