David Moyes has declared himself satisfied to progress until the end of the season with Juan Mata as the only addition to his squad in January. Despite admitting that his squad was in need of serious bolstering, the United manager had always urged caution about the chances of much business being done in this window. And so it proved, although, speaking ahead of United’s visit to Stoke City on Saturday, Moyes is confident that his solitary signing can make an immediate impact.
“There's no disappointment [that there will be no more transfers],” he said, according to Manchester United’s official website. “I said at the start that we wouldn’t do much business in January. There's no one reason for that.
“He's everything I thought he was. He's a terrific footballer, a good lad to work with and he’s settled in quickly. He played well in the game, which was important because we wanted him to make a difference straight away. I'm wary that we need to give him time to settle in and not expect too much too soon, but I was impressed with his first game."
There has finally been some positive news for Moyes of late in his troubled Old Trafford reign with not only Mata’s arrival but the return to fitness of forwards Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney. After six weeks out Van Persie started against Cardiff City on Tuesday and found the net after just six minutes in a 2-0 win. Rooney replaced Van Persie for the last half hour and Moyes suggested that he might have to continue to be cautious with the pair for the time being.
"I’ve got them back and it's great to have them," he explained. "We're mindful they're both coming back from injuries and we have to make sure they’re ready [before we give them 90 minutes].
"We’re a little bit more concerned about Robin because he’s been out longer; Wayne’s been out for a shorter period. We have to keep managing them and do things right.”
Two players that won’t be involved at Stoke are Fabio and Wilfried Zaha. Both have joined Cardiff City, with the Brazilian full-back signing a permanent deal and Zaha moving on loan until the end of the season.
Stoke could hand a home debut to one of their January arrivals Peter Odemwingie after the signing from Cardiff City started in the 1-0 defeat to Sunderland on Wednesday. With the Nigerian forward starting, fellow January arrival John Guidetti was again forced to make do with a limited cameo off the bench. And the loan arrival from Manchester City has already expressed his displeasure at his lack of game time. But Stoke assistant manager Mark Bowen played down the situation, pointing to Guidetti’s injuries in recent times as a reason for his slow start.
“We know John is a talented player, that’s why we brought him to the Club,” he said, according to Stoke City’s official website. “He has had a lengthy spell on the sidelines and, hand on heart, I would say he’s still getting up to speed in terms of full match fitness.”
Stoke currently find themselves in need of goals from any possible avenue. Mark Hughes’ side have lost their last four matches in all competitions to slip to within three points of the relegation zone and have failed to score in their last three outings.
Where to watch: The Barclays Premier League match will kick off at 10 a.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by NBCSN, with a live stream available via NBC Sports Live Extra.