Moyes unfazed by United's 8th EPL defeat
MANCHESTER United manager David Moyes insisted he had no concerns about his side's performance despite the champions suffering their eighth Premier League defeat of the season at Stoke City's windswept Britannia Stadium.
Charlie Adam scored twice, either side of a Robin van Persie equaliser, to show the flailing Red Devils that it will take more than one big-money signing to improve their fortunes.
Saturday's loss will seriously hinder United's hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League with only 14 games of the season remaining.
The optimism created by Juan Mata's transfer from Chelsea drained away as Moyes' men were beaten for the third time in their last five league games, losing ground on rivals Everton, who beat Aston Villa 2-1, and Tottenham, who drew 1-1 at Hull City.
United, who fielded van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Mata in a mouth-watering forward line, were again undone at the back.
But the United manager was unperturbed by the 1-2 loss, which was their fourth defeat this year in all competitions.
He pinpointed the deflection off Michael Carrick for Adam's first-half opener and the quality of the Stoke midfielder's second goal as reasons why United should not be too downbeat about their display.
"The performance was really good," he said. "We played well, so I don't think the question about a poor performance is right.
"We made numerous opportunities, played well, lost a goal from a free kick 30 yards from goal that took a deflection, and (conceded) a worldy. I thought we were the better team.
"They got a goal, we got back in it, I thought we were the team more likely and I thought on the day we did enough to certainly get something from the game."
With Jonny Evans hobbling off in the 11th minute, Adam's deflected opener and then a head injury to Phil Jones, who later underwent a scan for concussion, Moyes could count himself unlucky, but his side also squandered several chances.
"We had bad luck," he said.
"It was our own downfall that we really didn't take our chances. We must have got to the byeline eight, nine, 10 times and never picked someone out in the box, so it is our own doing."
Adam opened the scoring in the 38th minute when his speculative free kick from distance hit Carrick's knee and left United goalkeeper David de Gea helplessly wrong-footed.
United responded after the break when Mata, making his second start since his £37.1 million (S$78 million) arrival from Chelsea, played in van Persie, who curled home the equaliser.
But in the 52nd minute, Adam fired in a glorious goal from 22m to secure Stoke's first league win since Dec 21 and catapult them up to 11th place in the table. It was the Potters' first league win over United since 1984.
Manager Mark Hughes said: "People can see we are a determined group that stick together and will fight all the way."