David Moyes on FA charge while Wayne Rooney sunbathes in Egypt
• United manager charged for criticising cup semi-final referee
• Denies backroom changes have contributed to defeats
David Moyes's traumatic week continued when the Manchester United manager was charged by the Football Association for misconduct on Friday, having been forced to deny his new-look coaching staff are the prime reason for the champions' dismal run of form.
Following the Guardian's revelations that several players have begun questioning his credentials, Moyes was charged after criticising the officials' "terrible" decisions that led to both goals against United in Tuesday's 2-1 defeat at Sunderland in the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg.
Moyes was unhappy with the free-kick awarded by the referee, Andre Marriner, that led to Ryan Giggs's own-goal and with the second-half penalty awarded by the referee. The manager said of the officials: "We're having to play them as well as the opposition at the moment. It's really terrible, it really is. We're actually beginning to laugh at them, that's the thing." Moyes has until 6pm on 15 January to decide whether to accept the charge. He is likely to face a fine if found guilty. It comes as yet another blow to the manager, who has presided over three consecutive defeats inside a week – the first time United have suffered such a run in 13 years. Moyes denied that his clear-out of Sir Alex Ferguson's coaching team was to blame.
Moyes replaced Rene Meulensteen, Mike Phelan and Eric Steele with Steve Round, Phil Neville, Jimmy Lumsden and Chris Woods. Despite winning last season's title by 11 points, United trail the leaders, Arsenal, by the same margin, and were also knocked out of the FA Cup by Swansea City last weekend before the reverse at Sunderland. Asked if players had been made uncertain by changes to the backroom, Moyes said: "I don't think that's got anything to do with it at all."
Eric Harrison, who developed David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers, also claimed Moyes made an error in making the changes. Moyes said: "I asked René to stay at the club and gave him the opportunity so it wasn't as if I came in here and said let's get rid of everybody. I've kept all the other backroom staff."
Moyes is insistent his squad are giving their best but he admitted concern that, having been champions by more than 10 points, they are now so far behind Arsenal. "That's right, I agree with that. I can't disagree with what you're saying." With a summer clear-out expected he also agreed that players have only so many chances to prove themselves. "That's what happens, no matter what club you are at. You get opportunities and you have to take them when they come around," he said.
Despite qualification for the Champions League being in doubt Moyes reiterated that the hopes of strengthening during the transfer window remain low. "If there's anything out there I'll try and bring them in but it's difficult," he said.
Wayne Rooney has not played since the 2-1 defeat by Spurs at Old Trafford on New Year's Day and Moyes revealed that the England striker has been sent for some "warm weather recuperation" in Egypt in an effort to be fit for the match against Chelsea on 19 January.
"He has a bit of a groin-adductor problem which we just think might need a little bit more time," Moyes said. "Wayne has been sent away on a sort of hot-weather break. His groin has not quite recovered yet. We have sent a fitness coach with him and he is away with his family. Hopefully [we will] get him fit for Chelsea and we will see how he is."
Moyes wants to ensure that Rooney heals completely. "It looks as if we could bring him in but then he may have to drop out again, so we just want to nip it in the bud and see if we can get on top of it," he said. The manager was unable to say when Robin van Persie will return. "I wouldn't want to put a date on it. We are trying to get him back but it's a thigh strain similar to the one he had at Arsenal, so we are having to manage it correctly."
Filed under: Euro 2012
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