Moyes had been quoted earlier in the week, by David McDonnell of the Daily Mirror among others, saying he felt United had the necessary squad depth to challenge for honours.
However, when pressed on the issue ahead of United’s Champions League clash with Shakhtar Donetsk, Moyes clarified his belief that the squad is only good enough in size—not necessarily in quality. McDonnell's latest article provides the update:
The question I got asked was, ‘Is the squad big enough?’ and I said, ‘Yes, the squad is big enough.’
Your question [is the squad good enough] is slightly different. I believe the squad is big enough, yes.
Moyes’ latest comments come after he had been somewhat backed into a corner. Back in September, the Scot had questioned his team’s capability of winning the Champions League, saying the squad lacked world-class players, per Jason Burt of the Daily Telegraph.
Therefore, when he appeared to suggest after United’s weekend 1-0 loss to Newcastle that the squad’s depth was good enough, it raised several eyebrows.
Now, it seems, Moyes has all but admitted that he is not happy with the squad he inherited from Sir Alex Ferguson.
The United boss is playing a difficult balancing act. If he categorically states he does not have enough good players, he risks losing the dressing room. He also casts doubt over a bunch of players who strolled to the title last term.
However, if he says the squad does have enough depth in quality, the spotlight falls firmly on him as the cause of United’s awful start to the campaign.
Moyes has not lost any key players from the side that Ferguson led to the title. Paul Scholes hung up his boots, but he played in less than half of United’s league games last season.
The new figurehead has added £15 million Wilfried Zaha—a player forced upon him by the old regime—and Marouane Fellaini, a questionable £27.5 million purchase, all of Moyes’ own making.
United’s squad, if anything, should be stronger than last year, yet their title challenge is surely over—13 points off top spot—while quality football, belief and the Old Trafford fear factor have all exited the club.
All eyes are on the January transfer window as far as United are concerned. Moyes clearly doesn’t approve of his squad, so now he has to do something about it. Fellaini hasn’t proven a good start, so the club’s winter business must be better.