Newcastle, United Kingdom – David Moyes feels Manchester United are making the most of playing without the extra pressure Old Trafford brings after sealing a 10th Premier League away win of the season.
The reigning English champions climbed to sixth by maintaining their impressive form on their travels, which is the best in the top-flight, by comprehensively defeating Newcastle 4-0 at St James' Park on Saturday.
The result, achieved despite eight changes and without the injured Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, was the perfect preparation for Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final second leg with Bayern Munich.
United, level with the title-holders after a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford, know how difficult it will be in Germany, but Moyes believes his players are enjoying greater freedom when they are not playing on home soil.
“Maybe there is a big expectation at Old Trafford to be a bit more gung-ho and we have lost games by narrow margins,” the United manager said.
“Whereas away from home maybe there isn't that same expectancy. We have attacking players who can score at any time.
“I've had a lot of good performances this season and a lot of them have been away from home. We haven't got that as much in our home games.
“ There's a good spirit in the camp and we're beginning to show bits of signs of making good movements,” Moyes, in his first season as United boss following the retirement of Alex Ferguson, his fellow Scot, added.
United took command when Juan Mata curled in a brilliant first-half free-kick.
The Spaniard, a £37.1 million ($61.2m, 44.8m euros) buy from Chelsea in January, added a second after the break following a mistake from Fabricio Coloccini.
Javier Hernandez scored United's third goal following a pass from Shinji Kagawa before substitute Adnan Januzaj wrapped things up in stoppage-time.
“Juan Mata has played really well since he has been here and he has made us better,” said Moyes.
“He didn't get the goals in early games but recently he's started to come up with the goals and assists.
“I think in the last few Premier League seasons he's been one of the leading assist-makers and he has always got a good tally of goals,” the ex-Everton manager added.
“We needed that and he's coming up with the goods now.”
Moyes will assess the fitness of Rooney over the next few days to determine whether his toe problem will prevent the England striker from facing Bayern.
United winger Ashley Young injured a ligament in his hand after falling awkwardly at St James' Park and, with Mata ineligible to play against Bayern, Moyes said: “I've not heard from the medical team but I hope Wayne's making progress, he's a really important player for us and we'll give him every opportunity to be ready.”
While United plot a way of stopping Bayern Munich, Newcastle must try to address a slide of 10 defeats in their last 15 games.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has seen the north-east side concede 11 goals during the last three defeats alone, without finding the net at the other end.
Pardew, who hopes to have top scorer Loic Remy back for the trip to Stoke City, said: “We've got 46 points and we need to push on.
“We've had three heavy defeats now. The last few results have been tough, tough games for us.
“We understand the fans' frustration, they want to see exciting football here and we're just not producing it at the moment.
“We need to gather ourselves and put on a performance at Stoke that's above the last three.
“There were some decent individual performances but United were above us today.” – Sapa-AFP