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Thursday 20 March 2014

Champions League: Moyes hopes win a turning point

Man Utd reach quarter-finals as Robin van Persie hat-trick leads fightback against Olympiacos

  • Van Persie's three goals were enough for United to reach the last eight

Manchester United manager David Moyes praised his team’s fighting spirit as they overcame a 2-0 first-leg deficit against Olympiacos to win 3-0 at Old Trafford and book a last-eight place in the UEFA Champions League.

A hat-trick from Robin van Persie, combined with crucial saves by David de Gea, won the tie for United and Moyes is hoping that it could inspire the club to a third title on European club football’s biggest stage.

“We probably now will go into it [the quarter-finals] as underdogs in a lot of the games,” Moyes said. “[But] hopefully we can do it [win the Champions League], I don’t see any reason why not.

“This club is capable of it. If we play to our capabilities, which we have not done too often, we will be a match for any team. It was a really good result.”

As to whether the result constituted a turning point in a disappointing first season in charge at Old Trafford, Moyes said: “I don’t want to come out here and say this is the moment but at the same time, I really hope it is. We know it is a work in progress and it is going to take time to get things the way we want it.”

Van Persie had to leave the field before the end on a stretcher last night and Moyes said the Dutchman received a knock on a knee that will be assessed today to see if he is fit  for the trip to play West Ham United on Saturday in the Barclays Premier League. Three days later United will host Manchester City.

The quarter-final draw for the UEFA Champions League will take place at Nyon, Switzerland, at 11am GMT on Friday. Any team can be drawn with another.

Teams in quarter-finals of UEFA Champions League
Chelsea Real Madrid
Manchester United Bayern Munich
Atletico Madrid Borussia Dortmund
Barcelona Paris Saint-Germain

UEFA Champions League round-of-16 result

Manchester United (Van Persie 3) 3-0 Olympiacos (United win 3-2 on aggregate)

Spurs depleted

Tottenham Hotspur will be looking for inspiration from United as they travel to Portugal looking to overcome a first-leg deficit against Benfica in their last-16 UEFA Europa League tie.

Having lost 3-1 at White Hart Lane last week, Spurs’ task is not helped by injuries that have forced head coach Tim Sherwood to leave many players behind. Younes Kaboul has joined Michael Dawson and Vlad Chiriches for treatment, while Jan Vertonghen is suspended. Kaboul is working to be fit for the home Barclays Premier League match against Southampton on Sunday.

Also missing from the trip to Lisbon are Emmanuel Adebayor (hamstring, heel), Paulinho (calf) and Kyle Walker (pelvis), Mousa Dembele (hamstring), Etienne Capoue (ankle) and Erik Lamela (back).

UEFA Europa League round-of-16 fixture, second leg

6pm Benfica v Spurs (Benfica lead 3-1 on aggregate)

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Key Points

  • Manchester United through to quarter-finals of Champions League
  • Robin van Persie hat-trick overcomes 2-0 first-leg deficit
  • Manager David Moyes hopes victory will be turning point in disappointing season