SYDNEY – New Manchester United manager David Moyes says he is looking forward to playing “mind games” with Jose Mourinho as Chelsea steps up its interest in unsettled striker Wayne Rooney.
Amid reports that Mourinho’s Chelsea is considering a £40 million ($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 on Saturday, but the main interest again centered on players not on the club’s preseason 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 news 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 is prepared to increase its offer to lure former Arsenal playmaker Fabregas to Old Trafford.
Moyes, whose squad was due to fly to Tokyo on Sunday for the next leg of its preseason tour, confirmed last week that a formal offer, in the region of £26 million, had been lodged for Fabregas.
With United due to face Yokohama F. Marinos 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 (has) done.”