London – Manchester United manager David Moyes left his players in no doubt about his feelings after a crushing 4-1 defeat at rivals Manchester City had him holding his head in his hands.
Monday's newspapers reported that the Scot had given his beaten side a blast of the infamous Alex Ferguson 'hairdryer' treatment after the match.
Moyes, who took over from compatriot Ferguson at the end of last season, refused to confirm the full intensity of the dressing down but it was clear some hair had been ruffled at the very least.
“It's just what I'd have done if I'd... I've been here many times with Everton and don't think I've suffered a defeat like this with Everton,” the former Goodison boss told reporters when asked whether he had resorted to a first use of his predecessor's favourite appliance.
“So I just told the players the way I would have told players at any other club if I don't think they're doing it.” added Moyes. “They're good players, they're good pros, they know when they're bang at it and when they're not.”
Sunday's match at the Etihad might have had Ferguson, if not throwing the crockery, at least delivering a lung-emptying tirade after a scoreline that was United's worst defeat at City in 24 years.
The headlines talked of a humiliation, rather than just a beating, for Premier League champions whose limitations were cruelly exposed.
United were without striker Robin van Persie, who did not start due to a groin injury, but Moyes refused to use that as an excuse for a performance that raised serious questions about the quality of United's squad.
Instead, the manager demanded an immediate reaction from his players in the Capital One (League) Cup tie at home to Liverpool on Wednesday.
“The way they have been brought up, they way they have been bred with the manager previously, they react, that's what they do,” he said.
“We'll make sure we react. Every manager has bad results. I'm no different.”
United were 4-0 down after 50 minutes and City's new manager Manuel Pellegrini said he too was surprised by the scoreline.
“You don't expect to win 4-1 against Manchester United,” he told reporters. “It's very big and the way we did it is always important.
“We will enjoy this. It gives the team a lot of confidence. We are just starting another style of play and I hope to keep improving.” Reuters