Community Shield: Moyes wins 1st Man United trophy
LONDON (AP) — However — and whenever — David Moyes’ Manchester United career ends, the first trophy he lifted is unlikely to be considered a defining moment.
In fact, Moyes considers the Community Shield — collected on Sunday after United beat Wigan 2-0 — to be the 50th and final title of Alex Ferguson’s illustrious managerial career that ended in May.
“It was his team that won the Premier League,” Moyes said, “so today’s is really Sir Alex’s.”
“The ones going forward will be down to me. So big thank you for Sir Alex getting me into this position.”
For the former Everton manager, who was hand-picked by Ferguson to succeed him after nearly 27 years at Old Trafford, the traditional meeting of the league and FA Cup winners at Wembley Stadium to open the English season was all about avoiding embarrassment.
And Robin van Persie’s double against the FA Cup winners will lift some of the anxieties around United following a lackluster run of pre-season results before its Premier League title defense begins next weekend.
“I’ve been really impressed with Robin,” Moyes said. “He’s been easy to work with. He’s been really receptive and helpful.”
The sixth-minute header and second-half deflected strike reinforced Van Persie’s status as United’s leading striker during Wayne Rooney’s absence.
The future of Rooney was the biggest issue Ferguson left Moyes to resolve.
The former Everton manager has been steadfast through an offseason of agitating by the unsettled striker that he would not be sold, with two bids from Chelsea rejected.
Rooney was ruled out of all the official preseason fixtures and Sunday’s match due to hamstring and shoulder problems.
But, adding to the mystery, Moyes said that while Rooney is in line to play for England against Scotland on Wednesday, he’s unlikely to be fit for United’s Premier League opener at Swansea on Saturday.
“I don’t see why you think that’s confusing,” Moyes said at a post-match media conference dominated by questions about Rooney’s future.
Moyes said: “Some of you might not like hearing this, but I didn’t fall out with Wayne.”
The reason for Rooney’s frustration seems to be Van Persie, with the Netherlands striker moving above him in the pecking order since joining a year ago from Arsenal.
And Van Persie took just six minutes to find the net at a sun-drenched Wembley in north London.
After Van Persie sent the ball to Evra on the left flank, the left back crossed the ball back to the forward in the penalty area to head past goalkeeper Scott Carson.
It was game over, with Wigan rarely posing a threat.
Winning the FA Cup was the high point for Wigan last season, with its first major trophy success followed by relegation from the Premier League.
It was Moyes going to United that led to Wigan losing manager Roberto Martinez after the cup triumph. After Martinez headed to Everton, Owen Coyle was hired by Wigan.
The League Championship season is already under way, and returning to the world’s richest league is Coyle’s priority, even with a Europa League campaign to look forward to, starting in September.
The opportunities Wigan did have to equalize were squandered against the 20-time English champions.
After James McClean worked his way down the left flank, Grant Holt couldn’t get on the end of his cross. And just before half time, Leon Barnett’s header was off-target.
After the tour of Asia and Australia that yielded just two wins this was a trouble-free preparation for the season for United.
“We looked a lot better today,” midfielder Michael Carrick said.
Although it was a routine victory, the lack of spark highlighted United’s failure to reinforce the squad, with moves for Cesc Fabregas and Thiago Alcantara both faltering.
Instead, Van Persie’s goals served as a reminder of the success of Ferguson a year ago in getting a top asset from a fierce rival. Although quiet after the first goal he sprang into life again to net again just before the hour.
Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck did the hard work in carving out the opportunity, and the low strike from Van Persie was heading on target but landed in the net after taking a deflection off James Perch past Scott Carson.
And, for the first time in United’s history, a manager collected a trophy in his first season.