If Manchester United fans need reassuring, and it’s clear they do, that David Moyes is capable up managing a club of their calibre the reigning Premier League champions form in Europe offers hope of a steady transition from Sir Alex Ferguson.
Moyes’ haven’t been blowing away their opposition in the opening three games of Group A but seven points from nine leaves them in good stead to progress to the final 16 without expending too much energy in the close half of the group and a win against Real Sociedad would all but guarantee qualification.
There is though a cloud hanging over Old Trafford at the moment and only the partnership of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie have allowed it to be broken this season and last weekend’s 3-1 win over Fulham showed just how good that partnership is.
The pair were both on target and also created Antonio Valencia’s opening goal against the Cottagers, if they are in tandem when they make the trip to the Basque Country it will likely spell the end of the limited but spirited Real’s European adventure.
The La Liga outfit will make life difficult for the visitors and will pose a threat from set pieces, as they did for the opening three goals in their 5-0- thrashing of Ossasuna on Saturday night, so United’s back line will need to be organised but it is the other end of the pitch where the Reds can show their European credentials.
Saturday was the fourth time both Rooney and van Persie scored in the same game under Moyes and if the duo can continue their form while Moyes gets to grips with the other areas of his team Michael Carrick’s belief that United still have a chance to life a major trophy may not be too far-fetched.
Carrick said that the talk of United’s demise has been overstated:
“We’re used to being written off. There’s always been a spell through every season I’ve been here that we’ve been written off at some point.
“The good thing for us is that although we haven’t had a great start there’s a long time to put that right.
“In the grand scheme of things in the league, the points that we’re behind isn’t the end of the world.
“I don’t really think our rivals in the Premier League are stronger this year. It’s pretty much the same. We still believe we’ve got a chance.”
The game kicks off at the Anoeta Stadium at 19:45 GMT.