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'Fergie never struggled like Moyes'

ESPN staff
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Can United's stars play together?

Sam Allardyce appears to have cranked up the pressure on David Moyes with a brutal assessment of the problems facing Manchester United.

Moyes' West Ham counterpart claimed, after speaking to Sir Alex Ferguson, the motivation of United's players was unexpectedly low.

He also suggested the new manager had underestimated the size of his task, made transfer mistakes last summer and claimed United need to spend £200 million in the summer on new players - up to twice as much as they had planned.

Using his column in the London Evening Standard Allardyce said: "I expected their squad to be more self-motivated.

"Whenever I spoke to Sir Alex, especially in more recent times, he said the early days of the hairdryer were rarely needed - the history and achievements of one of the best clubs in the world demanded that players were always 100 per cent motivated.

"David is left with having to make more decisions about players at the end of the season than he expected. It looks like he will have to plan a rebuild and for a club like United, that could mean an outlay of £200m.

"The hard bit, even if you are United, is finding the players. They didn't do that last summer and that's probably one of the things David now regrets.

"He may have thought it was a big, strong squad - one which had just run away with the Premier League title - and that it just needed some tinkering."

The comments could add to the mounting problems facing a manager whose future at Old Trafford has been called into question after a season of poor performances.

Moyes and Allardyce have known each other for 20 years and it is equally possible the West Ham manager may have been speaking out with the Scot's blessing in the hope of helping to increase the resources available to him in the summer.

But it is Allardyce's close relationship with Moyes' predecessor - and still influential United figure - Ferguson which adds intrigue to the comments.

"There was a transition when Sir Alex went to United but in the modern day game, David knows he will not be accorded the same sort of time," Allardyce said. "These days, you have to work as quickly as you can.

"I don't think David would have thought it was going to be this much of a challenge."

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