Man Utd boss wary of A-League All Stars
Beaten by the Thai All Stars in their tour opener, new Manchester United manager David Moyes says he expects another "big test" when his English Premier League champions meet a depleted A-League All Stars.
Moyes joined veteran Ryan Giggs for the Red Devils' first tour media conference on Sunday after arriving for their week-long stay in Sydney ahead of Saturday's clash at a sold-out ANZ Stadium.
The United coach, who replaced legendary Sir Alex Ferguson following his retirement in May, said the trip Down Under was an important part of his squad's pre-season, with a heavy training regime planned in the lead-up to the All Stars match.
"It's a big part of our preparations coming here. We're actually looking forward to a good week's training," Moyes said.
"The way the tour works out, this is our longest stay, so we'll use your fine facilities to try and pick up the training a little bit and get prepared."
Moyes confirmed star striker Robin van Persie would link up with the squad in Sydney, amid the absence of Wayne Rooney, captain Nemanja Vidic and a handful of other players through injury.
Despite constant speculation about the unsettled Rooney's future, Moyes avoided mentioning the England international except to say he'll be out of action for two to three weeks with a hamstring injury.
Moyes' reign got off to a slow start when the youthful team he fielded were beaten 1-0 by Thai All Stars in Bangkok on Saturday night.
While the A-League All Stars will be without their three biggest names - Alessandro Del Piero, Shinji Ono and Emile Heskey - and a bunch of other players expected to be chosen by Socceroos coach Holger Osieck for the East Asia Cup in South Korea, Moyes said he still expected a strong challenge.
"I think wherever you go the games are really tough," he said.
"We found that out last night in Thailand. We had to travel away, it was the first game for our players. This Saturday will be their second game.
"I'm sure the Aussie players will be a bit more in full form than we are.
"And I think that when you play Manchester United, everybody wants to beat them - it's a big scalp if they can get it.
"But we will try and do everything we possibly can to make sure that we show you how good a football team and good football club we are.
"I know quite a few of the Aussie players - I'm sure they'll be up for the game, playing Manchester United.
"And if you're picking the best from the A-League, then we know it's going to be a big test for us as well."
Giggs, who was with the Red Devils on their last trip to Australia in 1999, said he was looking forward to the match and seeing the sights of Sydney - which will include a trip to ANZ Stadium for Wednesday night's rugby league State of Origin decider.
"Obviously pre-season's a tough time for all the players, just getting your fitness and to play against a quality team," he said.
"We're looking forward to it more than ever. We hope to improve on last night's performance and result."