Manchester United boss David Moyes expects mixed reactions from Everton fans as he prepares to face his former club for the first time since his departure.
The Scot left Goodison Park to assume the managerial position at the Premier League champions and was succeeded by Spaniard Roberto Martinez.
Stepping into Sir Alex Ferguson’s shoe has been a herculean task for Moyes who has not made the best impact in the league despite few impressive results. However, qualifying United for the knockout stage of the Champions League- with a game to spare- could be seen as the highpoint of his journey with the ‘Red Devils’.
Having witnessed the lows and the highs of his 156 days reign thus far in charge, the 50-year-old will not be looking to drop more points against the side he led for 11 good seasons before switching lanes. He admits the emotion will not be far from him when the Merseyside outfit, who are three places ahead, arrive at Old Trafford.
“It could be an emotional evening, but I am not that much of an emotional person,” said Moyes. “I’ll put it in the right place. The people I worked with at Everton were fantastic, the supporters were fantastic and the players were great. But I’ve got a new job now. I move on quite quickly.”
Everton arrive at Old Trafford with some impeccable runs of form so far this season. With only one defeat to their name in the ongoing campaign, the Toffees have won their last six league games- including Saturday’s 4-0 win over Stokes.
Moyes paid tribute to Martinez, who joined Everton from Wigan at the end of last season and has instilled some level of confidence on his lads, saying: “He is doing a very good job. He has very good players there. I always told them they could play without a manager because they are very well organized.
“But Roberto is doing a really good job keeping it going.
“I had a great time at Everton, it was a great club for me at the time in my career when I left Preston North End. They were fabulous to me- they gave me a chance to succeed the best I could at the club.
“We had one or two early years at the start when it was a bit up and down but overall we had a pretty good level of consistency after that and tended to finish pretty well in the division.
“I don’t think it’s any advantage there’s a new manager there and he’s got his own players in as well.
“I do know a lot of them, probably brought most of them to Goodison, if not them all, except for the recent ones. They’re all really good players and I’ve got a lot to thank them for because they helped me to win games.”
Despite the familiarity with the club, Moyes remains cynical on how he will be treated by the Everton supporters.
“I think it could be mixed at times but I think they know their football and they know where the club’s gone,” he added.
“I think more importantly they’ll understand the players in the team, the majority I brought in and I think they’ll understand there were a lot of good players brought in. But it’s football and you just never know.”
Robin van Persie could return from injury for the encounter having been out of action since November 10, when he scored the winning goal against league leaders Arsenal.
“Robin is OK,” said Moyes. He has a chance of playing.”
United are nine points adrift of league leaders Arsenal, who hosts Hull City on Wednesday night.