SYDNEY (AP) – Manchester United arrived in Sydney on Sunday for a match against an A-League All Stars team, made more important after a shock loss to Thailand's All Stars in their first match under new manager David Moyes.
The Premier League champion was beaten 1-0 in Bangkok on Saturday by the Thai lineup and will be searching for a better result when they play the A-League side, captained by Brett Emerton, in Sydney next weekend.
Players including Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand signed autographs for a few dozen fans who greeted the team at Sydney Airport.
Phil Neville, a former United and Everton midfielder who is now an assistant manager, noted Australia's perilous position in the first Ashes cricket test against England in a Twitter post. Neville said ''would be nice to wrap up the first test today and rub it in with the locals here in Sydney.''
David Moyes, whose career as United coach began with Saturday's defeat, said the Australian visit will play an important part of his squad's pre-season training. Moyes said his players would be working hard in the week leading up to the All Stars match.
''It's a big part of our preparations coming here. We're actually looking forward to a good week's training,'' Moyes said.
''The way the tour works out, this is our longest stay, so we'll use your fine facilities to try and pick up the training a little bit and get prepared.''
Moyes confirmed striker Robin van Persie will join United in Sydney, helping offset the absence of Wayne Rooney and captain Nemanja Vidic. He limited his comments on Rooney to saying the player will be out of action for two to three weeks with a hamstring injury.
Moyes said he expected a strong challenge from the A-League All Stars, despite the absence of the league's international stars Alessandro Del Piero, Emille Heskey and Shinji Ono.
''I think wherever you go the games are really tough,'' he said. ''We found that out last night in Thailand.
''We had to travel away, it was the first game for our players. This Saturday will be their second game. I'm sure the Aussie players will be a bit more in full form than we are.
''And I think that when you play Manchester United, everybody wants to beat them. It's a big scalp if they can get it. But we will try and do everything we possibly can to make sure that we show you how good a football team and good football club we are.''