SYDNEY, Australia, July 21 – New Manchester United manager David Moyes says he is looking forward to playing “mind games” with Jose Mourinho as Chelsea step up their interest in unsettled striker Wayne Rooney.
Amid reports that Mourinho’s Chelsea are considering a 40 million pound ($61 million) bid to land Rooney, the Premier League champions insist the England striker is not for sale as Moyes looks to make his mark after taking over from Alex Ferguson.
Moyes won his first match as United manager in the Red Devils’ 5-1 victory over the Australian A-League All Stars in Sydney on Saturday but the main interest again centred on players not on the club’s pre-season Asian tour.
Moyes remained tight-lipped after the match on the Rooney situation and the club’s attempts to sign midfielder Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona.
“I have not had any more news since we last spoke (on Friday),” Moyes told a post-match press conference. “I have no more updates of anything really, so I cannot give you anything positive or negative.”
Pressed further Moyes was asked by a Scottish reporter about his readiness for a battle of mind games with the cagey Mourinho.
“It sounds like your accent is the same as mine, so you must be from Glasgow,” Moyes said. “But if you’re from Glasgow you quite enjoy those kind of things, so bring it on.”
British newspapers reported after the Sydney match that United are prepared to increase their offer to lure former Arsenal playmaker Fabregas to Old Trafford.
Moyes, whose squad were due to fly to Tokyo on Sunday for the next leg of their pre-season tour, confirmed last week that a formal offer, in the region of 26 million pounds, had been lodged for Fabregas.
With United due to face Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan on Tuesday, Moyes said he was delighted with the form of Danny Welbeck and Jesse Lingard in the emphatic win over the A-League All Stars.
Welbeck and Lingard scored twice and Dutch ace Robin van Persie added the icing with United’s fifth goal minutes from full-time after coming on as a second-half substitute.
“To get Robin back on and get him started was good, but I think it was impressive that Danny got a couple of goals. I said to him that on another night he might have scored four or five goals,” Moyes said.
“I said to him during the week that if you keep working as hard as you are doing for the team then you get your rewards and as I said he was in and the keeper saved with his feet off him in the first half as well.
“He picked up the ball in a couple of great runs so I think he showed a bit of versatility tonight in everything he done.”
Moyes was equally impressed with 20-year-old Lingard, who troubled the home defence with his speed and positioning.
“Jesse played well tonight and I was hoping he might have got a hat-trick because for a youngster to get that at Manchester United is a big thing,” he said.
“His performance was very good and he set Robin up for his goal as well with a nicely weighted pass. Not only did he play well but he worked really hard and showed a lot of maturity.”
Moyes said he was looking to introduce flexible playing systems into United this season following on from the phenomenal success of 13-time Premier League-winning manager Ferguson.
“I would like my playing systems to be flexible, but it forms a basic structure and from that you can decide when you add Nani, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young it will give us different types of players,” he said.