Moyes' boys set for Euro exit

  • By: David John
  • Last Updated: March 19 2014, 19:22 GMT

David John is predicting more disappointment for Manchester United in the Champions League tonight.

A dejected Wayne Rooney sums up the current mood at Old Trafford
A dejected Wayne Rooney sums up the current mood at Old Trafford

The burning question ahead of Wednesday's Champions League second leg tie between Manchester United and Olympiacos is to what new depths can David Moyes and his side sink?

The Scot seemed surprisingly chipper in his press conference on Tuesday considering the absolute shambles that took place on Sunday in the 3-0 home defeat to Liverpool.

But that particular nadir could still yet be trumped if they were to be dumped out of Europe by a team that was readily expected to be swept aside after the draw for the last 16 - even by the current incumbents at Old Trafford.

It was on that dreadful night in Piraeus that the disconnect between what Moyes was expecting and what was delivered on the pitch became blindingly obvious.

His reaction was similar after Sunday - he felt his side had prepared in the correct manner but the players looked anything but and Liverpool made sure they took full advantage of the situation.

What we have to decipher now is whether Moyes' apparent upbeat approach is down to a genuine feeling he can sort out this mess or whether it is the bewildered ramblings of a man increasingly out of touch with the reality of the situation.

Wayne Rooney has weighed in as well as he issued a rallying cry of sorts after admitting Sunday was one of his "worst days ever" so the upcoming 90 minutes is extremely likely to have a huge influence on the shape of the club in the foreseeable future.

I think those connected with Olympiacos were as surprised as anyone with the ease in which they opened up a very handy 2-0 advantage three weeks ago.

They have arrived in Manchester on the back of winning a 41st Greek domestic title - with five weeks to spare - while manager Michel jetted in early to watch Sunday's game.

Quite what he made of that I don't know but he is shrewd enough to realise that there is still life in the tie and said: "If we think we have the upper hand, we will fail."

United hover around the 1/2 mark and a best price of 11/20 at BetVictor in the match odds while they are 2/1 with the latter firm to overturn the deficit and proceed to the last eight.

And history is actually very much in favour of the hosts. They have won all 11 meetings against Greek opponents while Olympiacos have lost on all 11 occasions they have visited Britain.

United boast a 3/3 record this season at home in the Champions League but victories over Real Sociedad, Bayer Leverkusen and Shakhtar Donetsk will hardly have Europe's big guns quaking - probably not even Michel's men.

So anything close to a competent display from the visitors will be more than good enough and that is something they can deliver if the excitement of a first appearance in the next round since 1999 does not get the better of them.

The weight of evidence of how far United have sunk this season under Moyes is just too great to ignore so a play on the draw at 15/4 - and ultimately European exit - maybe all the Red Devils are capable of in the current climate.

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