Beleaguered Manchester United boss David Moyes insists Sir Alex Ferguson’s shadow is not looming over him as he attempts to revive the club’s season.
Moyes’ predecessor sat alongside Sir Bobby Charlton and Bryan Robson in the stands at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday night as Sunderland condemned his side to a third successive defeat for the first time in almost 13 years.
The latest came in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final.
However, the Scot is adamant that the trio are a great help rather than a hindrance as he attempts to stamp his authority on the club.
Asked if their presence was an added pressure, he said: “Not at all. Alex is a great sounding-board for me. He is there to help, so is Sir Bobby. He is terrific.
“Bryan Robson is at the training ground regularly – I speak to him regularly.
“I find the three of them terrific.”
Moyes was putting on a brave face as he assessed a difficult night on Wearside.
The Black Cats will head for Old Trafford on January 22 knowing they will make it to their first League Cup final since 1985 if they can avoid defeat.
However, Moyes is confident his players are responding to him, and that they can still ensure it is they rather than Gus Poyet’s men who eventually run out at Wembley.
He said: “I have always been happy with how the players have been responding. I thought they were good tonight, apart from the opening 15 minutes.
“It is always going to be a tough game. It’s only the first part of the game, so we have got a bit more to do in the second leg.
“This hasn’t happened at Manchester United for a long time.
“I thought the support was great. They are sticking with the club, sticking with the manager and that’s exactly what you need when you are not doing so well.”
l United defender Rio Ferdinand could be out for up to two weeks. The former England international suffered a knee injury in Sunday’s 2-1 FA Cup third-round loss to Swansea.