Manchester United manager David Moyes says he is ready for the boos that are waiting him at Goodison Park tomorrow, but believes the Everton fans that do boo him have lost sight of what he did for the club.
Speaking ahead of the Old Trafford club's crucial trip to his old stomping ground, Moyes said he felt some Toffees supporters had forgotten how much he did for the club in his 11 years there and believes they were fortunate to have a manager in charge for that long in the modern football climate. However, he did concede that the Red Devils' pursuit of Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines may have gone some way to cultivating the animosity from the fans.
"Maybe people don’t believe how it [has been said it] happened. But it happened two weeks before the end of the season and you’d have to say it couldn’t have been done much better," he is quoted as saying by The Mirror.
“I think there was also animosity because of the players - we’d like to have bought a couple of them here. But lots of United players go to Everton - so there is a reverse.
"Hopefully in time everyone will look at it and say it was a really good period in Everton’s history.”
Sunday's match will be crucial for both teams for different reasons, aside from the story of Moyes returning to his old club. Everton's shock defeat at home to Crystal Palace on Wednesday put Arsenal back in the driving seat in the race for fourth and the final Champions League qualification spot, so victory is essential if the Gunners do not slip up in their trip to their FA Cup final opponents earlier in the day.
Meanwhile, Moyes has had difficult season since leaving Everton and taking over from the retiring Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer and the only thing left to play for is Europa League qualification. Manchester United are three points behind Tottenham Hotspur in sixth and nine behind Everton in fifth and the Europa League qualification spot, with a game in hand over both, so victory would make the unlikely feat of European qualification a little more possible.
Wayne Rooney is another former Everton star who is used to getting boos from the Goodison crowd, and he has reportedly recovered from a toe injury in time for the game. Marouane Fellaini moved from the Blues to Old Trafford this summer and he too should have recovered sufficiently in time for the match.