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Jamie Redknapp: Olympiakos win a boost but David Moyes has big tests ahead

Jamie Redknapp - Jamie Redknapp Posted 21st March 2014 view comments

We've seen the best and worst of Manchester United in the past week.

On Sunday, against Liverpool, they were so easy to play against and put in an ugly performance. After that game David Moyes must have felt as low as he's ever felt as a football manager.

Moyes: Got a big result on Wednesday - but what happens next?

Moyes: Got a big result on Wednesday - but what happens next?

However, on Wednesday they got a great result to turn around their Champions League tie with Olympiakos and reach the quarter-finals.

What Giggs did was incredible. You'll never see a performance like that from someone his age again.

Jamie Redknapp
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That was a huge win for Moyes and his players - although it's not necessarily a turning point. The big question is what happens next.

United travel to West Ham this weekend on Saturday Night Football and then host Manchester City on Tuesday night, again, live on Sky.

That Manchester derby and the next two Champions League games, for me, will shape Moyes' future at the club. If he loses to City the pressure will be back on and people will say he can't win games against the best teams. But if he wins and can get a big result in the Champions League then everyone will say 'here we go'.

Until that moment comes, however, the jury is still out.


The Olympiakos result will certainly give the United players a little bit of confidence for that derby, though, and the home fans will travel to Old Trafford next week with belief and expectation. And that's a contrast to the recent mood that's been around the club.

Whereas of late there's been no confidence, passion, will to win, desire or people making forward passes all of a sudden United came alive at the right time on Wednesday night.

Robin van Persie has looked a shadow of his former self this season but, make no mistake, he's a great player and he showed that against Olympiakos. If you get a hat-trick in a big Champions League match, when the pressure is on, you deserve plaudits. But he had a good supporting cast on Wednesday night, too.

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Ryan Giggs and Danny Welbeck were the two significant introductions. Some will say 'well done to the manager for bringing them in', others might say 'why has he not been playing them earlier on?'

Whatever your view, Welbeck was an ingredient United have been missing in the last few weeks - and a vital ingredient that all Man United teams I've ever played against have had - and that's pace, certainly in wide areas.

Before Wednesday everyone wanted the ball to feet, no one wanted to make the pitch big, no one wanted to stretch the play - and that's what Welbeck did from minute one the other night. He was willing to run without the ball and you could see he put that little bit of fear in the Olympiakos defence.

Giggs, on the other hand, was simply amazing. I've got to be honest, I couldn't believe what I saw from him on Wednesday. To be able to do what he did at 40 years of age was incredible - and you'll never see a performance like that from someone his age again.

To be so calm and so assured in such a vital game, a pressure situation, was very impressive. If you go into a game when you're 40 and you do ok everyone goes 'wow'. But he was the best technical player on the pitch by far. Every pass he made, the ability to pick it up first time, second time, play one touch, make tackles, interceptions... it was remarkable.He's not featured for United much this season, starting just 14 of their 44 games in all competitions, and they've lost two of the six Premier League games he's started, so it's not as though it's a case of 'Giggs plays, United win'. But he delivered when United needed him.

However, his performance also demonstrated just how difficult a job Moyes has on his hands; on a big night like that, his best player was a 40 year old. Replacing him won't be easy.


I expect United will be without Giggs and Van Persie for their trip to London this weekend. Van Persie got a knock late on against Olympiakos and Moyes may prefer to save the pair of them for the bigger game against their rivals on Tuesday.

However, that will give him the chance to freshen the team up with Adnan Januzaj and Juan Mata, while Welbeck may play alongside Wayne Rooney up front.

Jamie's backing Man United to beat West Ham 2-1 with Sky Bet

West Ham had a great run in February, off the back of holding Chelsea to a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge, but have lost their last two. Anything's possible with United at the moment, though, so this isn't an easy one to predict.

Some of the visitors will have half an eye on Tuesday night and this is always a tough fixture for United as there's a bit of animosity between the two clubs.

However, I reckon United will win 2-1 and build on the positive mood created on Wednesday. But the real test of the club's revival will come at Old Trafford next week.

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