Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown believes Manchester United’s rivals are sensing an air of vulnerability surrounding Old Trafford after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.
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The countdown to David Moyes’ first Premier League game in charge as Red Devils boss ends on Saturday when United travel to face Swansea.
But Keown, a member of Arsenal’s famed ‘Invincibles’, believes United will not be the same team under Moyes, the former Everton manager lacking the intimidating aura generated by Ferguson, a fact that will not have been missed by the rest of the competition.
“If you are a competitor, you see a chink of light,” Keown said at the 2013 FA and McDonald's Community Awards.
“Before you felt you were playing as much against Sir Alex as you were Manchester United because of his status in the game.
“The biggest thing for me is how will it affect the Manchester United players.
“They have worked with Sir Alex for a lot of years. He would have met their needs, re-assured individuals, found the necessary words to motivate them when he needed to.
“He isn't going to be there now and there is uncertainty in any workplace when a new boss comes in.
“If they get the wrong results, they might end up leaving a big gap which they are not able to close.”