Manchester United and David Moyes Finally Give the Fans a Reason to Hope

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Manchester United and David Moyes Finally Give the Fans a Reason to Hope
Jon Super/Associated Press

OLD TRAFFORD, MANCHESTER — There have been too many false dawns for Manchester United fans this season.

And they don't want to be told yet again that their team has "turned a corner."

But taken in isolation, the thrilling 3-0 win over Olympiacos and qualification for the quarter-finals of the Champions League represents a beacon of hope for United, Moyes and the supporters.

They can do it after all.

We have known all along that these are good players. We know, deep down, that Moyes is not a bad manager. You don't get one of the top jobs if you are.

But all season, we have been forced to talk too much about reputations and about what has been achieved in the past rather than what has been done this season.

It was a performance that gave Moyes cause to be cautiously optimistic.

He has tried to keep smiling all the way through this disastrous season. But at least this time he had something to back it up.

We probably now will go into it as underdogs in a lot of the games. Hopefully we can do it, I don’t see any reason why not. I think this club is capable of it.

"If we play to our capabilities which we have not done too often then I think we will be a match for any team.

Still, there was evidence of how far United have fallen since Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement in what he was saying. Not often during Ferguson's time at Old Trafford did United go into any European clash as the underdogs.

Especially at this stage of the competition.

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

But out of the last eight teams left in the competition, United are considered by the bookmakers to be the long shots. They are rarely wrong.

Even last season, United met Real Madrid as equals. This is essentially the same squad of players. But if they draw each other this time, the odds will be stacked in the Spanish side's favour.

Moyes, however, can take heart from others who have achieved the improbable.

Both Liverpool and Chelsea won the Champions League in a season when they finished outside the top four. But neither finished as low as seventh.

Moyes does, though, have Robin van Persie.

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

And against Olympiacos, the Dutch striker gave a timely reminder that he still has the ability to win games single-handedly.

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich might not fear United the team. They have little reason to on the evidence of this season. But they have cause to worry about their players.

And Moyes will be glad one of them, his star, popped up just in the nick of time. Just when he needed it most.

Quotes obtained first-hand.

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