By Sonia Oxley
MANCHESTER (Reuters) - Manchester United manager David Moyes played down the Premier League champions' shaky start to the season on Friday, saying the club had picked the right man to lead the team.
Back-to-back league defeats at Manchester City and, more shockingly, at home to West Bromwich Albion have been part of their worst opening for 24 years and have given a bizarre must-win feel to Saturday's trip to bottom club Sunderland.
Asked if he was concerned by the bad run of results and the club's 12th place in the standings, Moyes told a news conference: "We're concerned that we didn't win against West Brom, that is the biggest concern.
"There's a long way to go in the Premier League, (it's a) long season, you'll see great changes as the season goes on so we'll hang in there and get ourselves as close to the top as soon as we can."
Three defeats in six league games have led fans to question whether ex-Everton manager Moyes is up to the job of succeeding Alex Ferguson and phrases such as "hang in there" and "close to the top" will not inspire belief that he has a winner's mentality.
There was also surprisingly no word on striker Wayne Rooney's shin injury that kept him out of Wednesday's 1-1 draw at Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League, a contrast with Ferguson who often started his news conferences with updates on sidelined players.
"I've not seen him yet this morning," Moyes said of the England forward who has been enjoying something of a revival in form in a side otherwise lacking spark.
On their way to a 20th league title last season, United lost just five matches but even though they are more than halfway to that total so early in the season, Ferguson said this week he still backed Moyes 100 percent.
"I think Manchester United is a good club. I'm sure they know they picked the right man for the job and Sir Alex was part of that process as well," Moyes said.
In Saturday's late kickoff (1630 GMT), the Scot takes his team to Sunderland where three points against a side still looking for a first win of the season should usually be a matter of course and the champions will find themselves under scrutiny.
"We'll concentrate on the Premier League now and try to get back on track," Moyes said.
"I've got really good players and they know the standards they've set over the years and together we'll work to get it right."
(Editing by Clare Fallon)