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HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014

Football

Manchester United primed for fixture frenzy: Moyes
AFP
Kingston Upon Hull, United Kingdom, December 25, 2013
First Published: 10:21 IST(25/12/2013)
Last Updated: 10:26 IST(25/12/2013)
Manchester United manager David Moyes believes that his squad are ready for the rigours of the festive period as they prepare for Thursday's Premier League trip to Hull City.
   
After suffering consecutive home defeats against Everton and Newcastle, United have improved with a run of four wins in three different competitions.
   
They now face back-to-back away matches after Christmas, with a trip to Norwich City following their game at the KC Stadium.
   
United then host Tottenham Hotspur on January 1, but although Moyes acknowledges that the schedule is not ideal, he is growing in confidence about his group's ability to cope.
   
"Away games are always much harder than the home games and you have to make sure that we go and do the job right," said the Scot, whose side approach Thursday's game in eighth place in the table.
   
"We've done the job quite well away from home this season so far, so we'll try to keep it going, keep the away form up and hopefully pick up some points.
   
"It's felt like we've had to use the squad over the last month as well and we've had it most of the season.
   
"But everyone at United is used to it. We look forward to the games and we've got a big squad and they'll all be used over this period."
   
Moyes has hinted that Robin van Persie and Michael Carrick could return from respective thigh and Achilles problems over the festive period.
   
Captain Nemanja Vidic has also recovered from illness and a calf problem, while striker Danny Welbeck is fit despite suffering a knock to his knee in the 3-1 win over West Ham United at the weekend.
   
However, midfielder Marouane Fellaini will be out for six weeks following surgery to his wrist.
   
Hull have only conceded three goals in their eight home matches and Moyes will not be taking Steve Bruce's side lightly as a result.
   
"That's a great record for Hull. You've either got to score plenty of goals or not concede goals -- it's one or the other," he said.
   
"I'm sure for Steve, if they've got a good base and they're hard to beat it's something you can build on and hope you get the odd goal that wins you the games. It'll be a tough game."
   
Bruce believes it is only a matter of time before United become a force to be feared under Moyes.
   
United have struggled for consistency in the first half of their first season without Alex Ferguson at the helm, but the former United captain says that that was always to be expected.
   
"It would have been difficult, whoever had taken over," Bruce said.
   
"Sir Alex must be in every closet, behind every door you open. Whoever had taken over would've have needed a bit of time.
   
"Thankfully, they've shown what kind of club they are, giving David a six-year-deal.
   
"They will give him time and rightly so. It is never easy to follow somebody like Sir Alex, with the record he's got."
   
Bruce, who won three Premier League titles and three FA Cups during nine years at Old Trafford, said he was pleased to see former Everton manager Moyes given the chance to take charge of the defending champions.
   
"He's an outstanding manager, David, and it's just a matter of time before things click into place," said the Hull coach.
   
"He'll have to put his own stamp on it, like anyone in management. You need your own stamp on things.
   
"He's proved over the years what a good manager he is. He's a football man and all of us in the game, us British ones at least, are delighted the big, top job has gone to somebody like David, because he deserves it."
   
Bruce is expected to keep faith with the same team that started in Hull's last three games -- 1-1 draws at West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City, either side of a 0-0 draw at home to Stoke City.

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