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Feb 10, 2013

Moyes could have been Fergie's assistant

Everton manager David Moyes has revealed how he missed out on the chance to be part Manchester United's treble-winning side as Sir Alex Ferguson's assistant.

Moyes, who takes his Champions League hopefuls to Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday, was a candidate to become Ferguson's right-hand man when Brian Kidd left to manage Blackburn in December 1998.

The two men met to discuss the role, and Moyes - then in charge of Preston in the third tier - was interested in making the move, but after nearly two months of deliberation Ferguson instead decided to bring in Steve McClaren, then Derby's first-team coach, at the start of February 1999.

Three months later, McClaren was enjoying a treble triumph as United won the Premier League, the FA Cup and the Champions League.

Moyes has since gone on to become the third longest-serving manager currently working in English football, behind only Ferguson and Arsenal's Arsene Wenger, and will clock up 11 years in charge of Everton in March. He also insists he has no regrets that the chance to coach at Old Trafford slipped away.

"I met Fergie in the year they won the Champions League," Moyes told the Mail on Sunday. "He asked me to have a cup of tea with him. He was looking for an assistant. I met him but he gave the job to McClaren.

"I was fine with that because I was enjoying what I was doing at Preston, but if that opportunity had come I wouldn't have turned it down. Maybe it was a good decision not to do it. They went on to win the European Cup and have been very successful since but I'm happy with the way it's worked out for me."

Moyes' men go to Old Trafford lying in sixth position, with a six-point gap to make up in order to reach the Champions League qualification spots after fourth-placed Tottenham beat Newcastle 2-1 on Saturday.

He believes that his current squad are better than the Everton side he guided into the Champions League qualifiers by finishing fourth in 2005.

He added: "I've got a really good team and I feel responsible to help get that team even better. This is the best team since I've been here, albeit the team who got to the Champions League was tough, resilient and worked hard. This team have a little bit more flair."

Everton have the chance to complete a league double over United, having beaten them 1-0 at Goodison Park in their opening game of the season thanks to a Marouane Fellaini header.

It gave them the platform on which to build a Champions League challenge, which Moyes hopes they can sustain.

"In the first two months our football was excellent and to be fair we've hung in there," Moyes said. "Now we have to keep it going and that's where the expectation starts. But our history has suggested we do well in the second half of the season so we've got to somehow hang in there.

"The Champions League is something we've got to aim for and we don't know if it's going to be too far away from us or not. What we're saying to the others is: 'We're in there, we're going to actually compete with you.'

"Will we have enough when it comes to the end of the season? I'm not sure. But if I can't make the Champions League, I want to make the Europa League because Everton need European football."

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