Manchester United FC may be eight points off the top in the Premier League, but manager David Moyes feels his side are close to reaching their potential as they welcome Real Sociedad de Fútbol in UEFA Champions League Group A.
Real Sociedad are even further off the pace in the Spanish Liga and yet to get a point in this group – while United are joint leaders on four – but Moyes has been "impressed" when watching the visitors this season. The Scot's counterpart Jagoba Arrasate warned: "I'm not fooled by this so-called bad start for United."
David Moyes, manager
Obviously we want to improve results, but we also want to improve performances. We've had periods of good play but not complete performances – but we're working on it in training, trying to improve all the time and trying to make it work. There have been periods of excellent play, we could have scored a few more goals, but we're training hard and I'm sure the goals will start flowing soon.
We'd have started even better if we'd taken all three points in Donetsk [on matchday two], but it wasn't a bad point away from home. We'll keep trying to win our games; it's a great competition and it's very important to play well. It's also important to win your home games, which is what we'll be trying to do against Sociedad.
Sociedad are in the Champions League on merit, finishing in the top four in Spain is a great achievement and we respect them for it. The loss of one or two players in the summer has made it harder for them, while expectations are also much bigger. They've changed their style in one or two games this season, sometimes with one defensive midfielder and sometimes with two, while they had a great result at Valencia on Saturday.
I think it [Old Trafford] is a big place to come but it's also enjoyable. It's a great stadium to play at, though I hope they don't enjoy it too much!
Saturday: United 1-1 Southampton FC (Van Persie 26; Lallana 89)
De Gea; Rafael, Jones, Evana, Evra; Nani (Giggs 69), Fellaini (Welbeck 76), Carrick, Januzaj; Van Persie, Rooney (Smalling 87).
• Fresh from signing a long-term contract, Adnan Januzaj set up Robin van Persie's opener. Van Persie and Wayne Rooney both hit the bar, but United are now eighth, eight points adrift of leaders Arsenal FC.
Moyes said Nemanja Vidić and Rio Ferdinand are "making good progress" from their respective injuries, while Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley both "have a chance" of featuring on Wednesday. Januzaj has been added to United's UEFA Champions League squad.
Jagoba Arrasate, coach
They've got a new coach and it always takes time to adjust. But I'm not fooled by this so-called bad start for United, as they could explode into life at any moment. We'll expect them to be at their best tomorrow and to give us a very difficult game, but if that's not the case then all the better for us.
Playing here has more positives than negatives, and we won't be intimidated by the occasion. Of course we're coming here to a legendary, almost mythic stadium, but we're going to train on the pitch now so we'll get a feel for it. Once the whistle goes it's just another game of 11 versus 11, and we'll also have huge backing from our fans.
Of course it'll be a special night for all of us: the players, the coaching staff and the fans. But once the whistle blows we'll focus on our job – on correcting things, urging on the players, basically doing everything we can to get the three points that'd give us a chance of getting out of the group, which is what it's all about.
[Despite two opening defeats] we can take positives from both games and we played particularly well in Germany. We know we have to get close to our very best form to give ourselves a chance tomorrow, so it's about preparing well and working hard for the result.
Saturday: Valencia CF 1-2 Real Sociedad (Griezmann 41, Pardo 59; Pabón 90)
Bravo; Carlos Martínez, Mikel González, Iñigo Martínez, De la Bella; Bergara, Pardo (Ros 78), Vela, Zurutuza (Xabi Prieto 74), Griezmann (Castro 84); Agirretxe.
• La Real ended a run of eight games in all competitions without a win, registering their first away victory in the Liga this term.
Midfielder Gorka Elustondo missed the weekend success with a thigh strain. Esteban Granero is a long-term absentee after he ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee on matchday one.
• The English title holders have lost their last two home matches against Spanish opposition, going down 2-1 to Real Madrid CF in last season's round of 16 and succumbing 3-2 to Athletic Club at the same stage of the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League. Wayne Rooney was on target three times overall in that two-legged tie against Athletic, La Real's Basque rivals, as United lost 5-3 on aggregate.
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