David Moyes said he took full responsibility for Manchester United’s abject season after the 3-0 defeat to Manchester City left them 15 points behind their local rivals.
United, who were Premier League champions last season, are now only in seventh place after their sixth home league defeat of the campaign. But manager Moyes shielded his players from the blame and insisted they did not lack either effort or commitment as City completed a derby double.
He said: “I take responsibility. I have to be the one who plays them, picks them and that is what it is. I don’t think tonight was in any way [down to] a lack of effort or lack of commitment from the players, in fact I thought they were fully there but in some areas we didn’t come up to scratch.”
Moyes, who has struggled to find reasons for some of United’s other defeats this season, was at a loss to explain why his team began the game so poorly.
Edin Dzeko scored the third fastest goal in Manchester derby history after just 44 seconds before the Bosnian added a second when he escaped from Rio Ferdinand to volley in a corner and then Yaya Toure completed a 3-0 victory.
And Moyes added: “We never started well. We never gave ourselves a great opportunity to get into the game. Manchester City started really fast and conceding a goal after 30 or 40 seconds made it difficult. I think we only touched it twice, a block and we might have kicked one out for a throw in before they got the goal.
“And I didn’t think we started the second half well. We brought pressure on us by our play and in the end we conceded a corner just before that and there was another one and then that let to goal. It was obviously poor marking and we should have done much better.”
Moyes admitted that it is a long-term job to get United, who have been champions 13 times in the past 21 seasons, back to the top.
He said: “You don’t just suddenly change things around. As I said the other day, a lot of other clubs have had to change and they have had to do rebuilding jobs and look at the time it has taken them to do that or get to a level of competing. We hope it won’t take us as long as some of those clubs have taken.
“Everyone knows this is going to be a job which is going to take a little bit of time to get the way we would like it but that is the job and I recognise that.”
And he said that United must now aim to reach the level of neighbours City, explaining: “I think we played a very good side. And it is the standard we need to try and aspire to get to at this moment in time.”