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David Moyes feels his misfiring Manchester United players will have to up their level if they are to make it to the latter stages of the Champions League.
The Red Devils had already sealed their passage into the last 16 of the competition prior to Tuesday’s clash with Shakhtar Donetsk but needed a point at Old Trafford to guarantee themselves top spot in the group.
Phil Jones’ second-half volley secured an unconvincing 1-0 victory for the Premier League champions to ensure that they topped Group A, while Bayer Leverkusen joined them in the knock-out stage after beating Real Sociedad 1-0.
The victory meant that United qualified having conceded just three goals in their six contests – the fewest by any teams in the four completed groups.
But, while it may have seemed like an impressive qualification run, the hosts were lucky to claim the points on Tuesday, with Shakhtar spurning many decent chances and recording nine shots on target to United’s three.
And, after the match, Moyes was honest in his assessment of the way that his charges are currently performing.
“We all know we as a team have to improve if we are to keep progressing in the competition,” he said. “A club like Manchester United has to be trying to win the trophy.”
A loss to the Ukrainian side would have meant three successive home defeats and further pressure on himself and his players, and the Scot will now hope that his stars can make it back-to-back wins when they travel to face Aston Villa in the Premier League at the weekend.