Premier League: Manchester United boss David Moyes backing under-fire squad
Manchester United manager David Moyes is determined to put a stop to questions about whether his players care or not.
Last Updated: 15/12/13 12:49pm
Former United stars Roy Keane and Peter Schmeichel, who is a paid ambassador for the club, have condemned several members of Moyes' under-performing squad in the past week.
Keane singled out Ashley Young and Rio Ferdinand for treatment, whilst Schmeichel has claimed some Red Devils players "look as though they don't care".
It is a problem that, unless resolved, has threatened to undermine Moyes' hopes of a successful transition from the Sir Alex Ferguson era.
"This squad was good enough to win the league last year," said Moyes. "I need to make sure we get them back playing at that level again.
"I take responsibility. I always do. It is the manager's job.
"I will try to make sure that from now on there are no questions about their application."
United go to Aston Villa in Premier League action on Sunday and they do so with Moyes under pressure to improve the team's current league position of ninth.
The back-to-back home defeats the team suffered to Everton and Newcastle United have led to renewed calls for Moyes to strengthen the squad at Old Trafford and he confirmed he plans to do exactly that during the January transfer window.
"We are making sure everyone has an opportunity to show the new manager exactly what they can do," he said.
"We are trying to be as fair as we can to the players who are here.
"We have really good players. These are near enough all the players who were involved last year. Hopefully we can get them in top form.
"I have a good squad. Can I improve it? Of course I can. Am I going to improve it? Yes I am.
"Undoubtedly we will alter things in the coming months and transfer windows. Will they come in January? I don't know."
Missing from the squad at Villa Park is Robin van Persie who picked up an injury in the 1-0 Champions League victory over Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday.
"Robin van Persie is out for a month," said Moyes. "It is unfortunate because I think if you look at our record with Wayne Rooney and Robin in the team it is actually very good and we have not had them for quite a period recently.
"Marouane Fellaini has a bit of a back injury. Michael Carrick is missing and Robin is going to miss four weeks with a thigh strain. That is a big blow to us."
Goalscoring responsibility will now fall to Rooney who has been in great form this season despite United's problems. Rooney is edging towards Bobby Charlton's club scoring record of 249.
Rooney will clock up 500 first-team appearances (including with Everton) on Sunday and Moyes thinks that, at 28, the England international is getting better.
"There are big things ahead for Wayne and some big targets ahead - he can break Sir Bobby's record," Moyes said.
"As he gets older, he's adaptable and such a good football player. If he gets older and loses his pace, he can play a bit deeper. There are some fantastic legends around this club and Wayne has got a chance of turning out as one of them."