SYDNEY (Reuters) - David Moyes would consider it a job well done if he could achieve a quarter of predecessor Alex Ferguson’s success at Manchester United, after the Scot began his reign at the club with a disappointing 1-0 loss in Bangkok on Saturday.
The Singha All-Star XI took the lead early in the second half through Teerathep Winothai and managed to keep the English champions, who were without frontline strikers Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney, at bay.
As part of their pre-season tour, United will next play in Sydney, followed by matches in Yokohama, Osaka and Hong Kong before facing AIK in Stockholm on August 6.
“It’s my first season as manager of Manchester United. I‘m following probably the finest football manager that’s ever lived,” Moyes, who replaced the retired Ferguson at the end of last season, told reporters in Sydney on Sunday.
”I‘m always saying, you know if I can even win a quarter of what he won, I’ll have done very well.
“So the first thing I’ve got to do is settle in to the job, get to know everybody and find my way around.”
During his 26 years at the club, Ferguson won 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League and two Champions League titles.
Rooney, who has been the subject of intense transfer rumours since the end of last season, returned home with a hamstring injury hours after arriving in Bangkok, although Van Persie will boost Moyes’ attacking options when he joins up with the squad in Sydney.
The former Everton manager thanked his colleagues at the club for helping him make a smooth transition as he builds towards the first game of Manchester United’s Premier League title defence away to Swansea on August 17.
“I‘m really fortunate that everybody who’s working at the club is making that easy for me,” the Scot said.
“The players especially have been terrific in what they’re doing and we’ll be adding one or two more players who’ve come in to join us, who have may be been away with their international teams over the summer time in the next month or so.”
Hoping to build on the huge success of the club’s recent past, Moyes appointed club veteran Ryan Giggs, 39, as player-coach and added former defender Phil Neville to his backroom staff.
Giggs, who made his senior debut for United in March 1991, is the most decorated player in English soccer with 13 Premier League winner’s medals, four FA Cup winner’s medals and two Champions League winner’s medals among his collection.
The former Welsh international, having always played under Ferguson, admitted that working with Moyes was different but said he was enjoying the experience.
“It’s obviously strange because I’ve only had one manager for twenty-odd years... but we move on and I’ve really enjoyed it,” he said.
”It’s like any other pre-season, you’ve got to work hard, you’ve got to knuckle down and prepare yourself as best you can for the first game of the season, Swansea.
“So, on the pitch it’s not been that different really but obviously it’s a little bit strange because I’ve only known one manager so, but, no, I‘m enjoying it.”
Writing by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by John O'Brien