- Premier League
'I never thought it would be this hard'
David Moyes has admitted he is "desperate" to deliver at Manchester United in a letter to the club's fans.
The manager told season-ticket holders he never anticipated the team would suffer as many disappointments in his first season at Old Trafford as they have.
United are out of the FA Cup, League Cup, facing a Champions League exit and may struggle to even qualify for the Europa League next season, so bad has their Premier League form been.
Some supporters, accustomed to the serial success of the Sir Alex Ferguson era, have started to turn vocally against Moyes but, in taking the unusual step of writing to effectively apologise to loyal fans, he claims they have stuck by him and the team.
"While I knew that this job would be a challenge when I took it on, the difficult season we have experienced was not something that I envisaged," Moyes wrote.
"I am sure [that] is the case as well for you supporters - and my players, staff and I are desperate to compensate for that.
"You are accustomed to seeing a successful Manchester United and the backing you have given the players and me throughout the season has been incredible.
"Away from home the travelling fans have remained the best in the country while at Old Trafford your unwavering faith has been noticeable and hugely welcomed.
"Supporting your team when they are winning is easy but much harder when things are not going as well, and the loyalty you have shown us has been magnificent."
Moyes has maintained the crucial support of his predecessor, Ferguson, who is still an influential United director, and is said to have been given more time to turn things around.
His team were Premier League champions last season but lie seventh in the Premier League table, 12 points behind fourth-placed Manchester City, with their rivals also boasting a game in hand.
United's only hope of qualifying for next season's Champions League appears to be in winning this year's tournament but they must overcome a 2-0 first-leg deficit to Olympiakos to get as far as the quarter-finals.
Other disappointments have included crashing out of the FA Cup in the third round at the hands of Swansea and losing a penalty shootout to Sunderland in the League Cup semi-finals.
Moyes, in addressing fans, insisted the club would benefit in the long run. "Everything we have been through will make us a better, stronger team and club in the future," he wrote.
"Over the years you have seen great winning sides here and, in time, I have absolutely no doubt that we will see great winning sides here again."