Old Trafford will get its first look at club-record signing Juan Mata in a Manchester United shirt on Tuesday, with the former Chelsea attacking midfielder set to make his debut against Cardiff City. Mata has had just one day of training with his new teammates yet could well start, with Moyes in no doubt about what he can bring to the side.
"He understands the club he is coming to,” Moyes said of Mata, according to Manchester United’s official website. “He is a Spanish international who wants to play to make sure he is in the World Cup squad. I think he can genuinely add something to what we have got. He can give us a different type of player to what we already have in the squad.
"I won't be surprised at what he can do for us. He can play off the right, off the left, behind the striker. He will play any one of the three roles. We know that is what he does. He plays it in his own style.
"But he can play in any of those three positions. That is partly what we want. We want people who are flexible. We want people who can change within games as well. We don't want people to stick to one position. It will allow us to alter things if we feel we have to during games as well."
The arrival of Mata has distracted from what has continued to be a dismal first season in charge for Moyes. Another low point was reached last week when United were dumped out of the Capital One Cup at the semifinal stage after a meek performance against Sunderland and an even more wretched penalty shootout.
Moyes will certainly be hoping that the long-expected revival starts now. Not only has Mata’s signing lifted some of the gloom, but star men Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie are set to be back in the squad against Cardiff after returning to training this week.
Those storylines have overshadowed what otherwise would surely have been the main talking point of the evening in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer returning to Old Trafford as manager of Cardiff. The Norwegian was a crowd favorite during his 11 years at Manchester United, where he famously scored the dramatic winning goal in the 1999 Champions League final. It was also at United where Solskjaer honed his coaching skills, when taking charge of the reserve side.
While doubtless appreciating the warm reception he is sure to get, Solskjaer now has his hands full at Cardiff. Since being appointed at the start of January following the controversial departure of Malky Mackay, Cardiff have lost both their Premier League matches and now come into Tuesday’s match bottom of the Premier League. Still, with just one point separating the bottom four, Solskjaer will know the value of causing an upset at the stadium he used to call home.
Solskjaer is likely to make several changes to the side that won 1-0 in the FA Cup at Bolton at the weekend. Striker Jo Inge Berget, a recent signing from his former club Molde, could be involved. The match comes too soon for the debut of Kenwyne Jones, who has completed his swap move from Stoke City, with Peter Odemwingie going the other way.
Where to watch: The Barclays Premier League encounter will kick off at 2.45 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by NBC’s Premier League Extra Time, with a live stream provided by NBC Sports Live Extra.