'I don't like to see any manager suffering ... David Moyes is suffering as Manchester United manager,' said Olympiakos coach Michel ahead of his side's clash with Manchester United on Wednesday.
Olympiakos coach Michel feels ‘sympathy’ for Moyes
Olympiakos coach Michel said on Tuesday that he felt sympathy for Manchester United counterpart David Moyes, as his side bid to knock the English giants out of the Champions League.
The Greek champions pulled off a shock 2-0 win in the first leg of their last 16 tie on February 25 and now stand on the verge of the quarter-finals for the first time since 1999.
United have only once overturned a first-leg deficit in the competition’s knockout stage and elimination at Old Trafford in Wednesday’s return leg would complete a wretched debut campaign for Moyes.
United are 18 points off the pace in seventh place in the Premier League and out of both domestic cup competitions, prompting newspaper reports that Moyes’s position could be at risk if his side are eliminated by Olympiakos.
Michel knows better than most what it is like to live with the pressure of expectation at a major club, having played 559 times for Real Madrid, and he says that he draws no pleasure from Moyes’s current plight.
“Tomorrow (Wednesday) we have different objectives, but I don’t like to see any manager suffering,” he said at Tuesday’s pre-game press conference.
“David Moyes is suffering as Manchester United manager, but Manchester United is a big club and I know the results will come good.”
Asked if he had sympathy for Moyes, the former Spain midfielder replied: “I have sympathy for all managers, because I’m one of them. We know he works hard, but sometimes results don’t mirror the hard work done.
“It’s nothing personal against David Moyes. It’s a big opportunity to knock Manchester United out of the competition, but David Moyes is not an enemy.”
Only five teams have previously overcome a first-leg deficit of two or more goals in the Champions League knockout phase, but Michel says that Olympiakos cannot afford to sit back and defend.
“We’d like the game to go the same way as the first leg, but we know it’ll be a different Manchester United,” said the 50-year-old, who attended United’s 3-0 loss at home to Liverpool on Sunday.
“We definitely need one goal to have decent hopes. We can’t just sit back protecting our 2-0 lead.”
Experienced Argentine striker Javier Saviola has travelled with the squad, but he is a doubt for the game due to a thigh problem and was unable to play a full part in training on Tuesday.
Michel gave nothing away when asked about the 32-year-old’s chances of making his 100th appearance in UEFA competitions on Wednesday, however.
Quizzed as to the striker’s condition, he would only reply: “Javier Saviola is doing fine, thank you very much.”
Follow us on Twitter @SprtNationalUAE