Moyes Reveals Bizarre Secret to Antonio Valencia's Manchester United Form
David Moyes has explained he had to swap the shirt number of Antonio Valencia in order to help the winger find form at Manchester United.
Valencia began life at Old Trafford with the No. 25 jersey but later changed to the No. 7. Now Moyes has handed him back the No. 25 after the Ecuadorian’s form dipped last season, per United’s official website:
He has done very well. They keep telling me that he needed to change his number so we got that changed for him! Sometimes, psychologically, it can make a difference to a player.
The stats support the superstition behind Valencia’s trust in the No. 25 jersey.
His first season at United yielded seven goals and, after an injury-riddled 2010/11 campaign, he added another six strikes two years later.
However, last season Valencia switched to the famous No. 7—worn by the likes of George Best, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, but he hit only one goal in 40 appearances.
Moyes has switched him back to the No. 25 shirt and saw Valencia score during Tuesday’s 4-2 win over Bayer Leverkusen, and now he wants the player to beat his record tally for the club:
I actually said to him today: “You should be getting yourself seven or eight goals a season regularly.” He looked at me and squinted a bit! Hopefully he knows what I mean!
I don't know how many he scored last season, I think it was only one or two. He's got off to a good start and hopefully he’ll get close to the target I’d like to him get this season.
The United manager also had a challenge for Wayne Rooney, who scored a brace in that same game.
Rooney continues to attract attention following his summer flirtation with Chelsea, but Moyes claimed the only way to respond was to keep scoring goals, beginning with Sunday’s Manchester derby. Simon Stone of the Manchester Evening News provides the quotes:
I think we just go step by step. If he could score another two goals at the weekend that would be the next step forward wouldn't it?
He's played really well and we want him to maintain that. If anything I'm asking him to step up again. I want him to keep getting better.
Moyes is about to oversee his first Manchester derby this weekend. Victory over City would give his side a hugely respectable points tally of 10 from five games after a tough start that has seen United face Chelsea, Liverpool and now City.
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