• Mourinho claimed Manchester United are 'unhappy'
• Moyes says United may play without striker at Chelsea
David Moyes has received an apology from José Mourinho for the Chelsea manager's claim earlier in the week that he had "inside information" about Manchester United being unhappy with the season so far.
While Mourinho also stated this was due to "years of communicating with Sir Alex", Moyes said: "I have seen it and I have had an apology from the Chelsea media department and from José. I think it was poor journalism actually."
Pressed why Mourinho said sorry, Moyes added: "He was apologising because of the poor journalism."
Moyes takes his side to Chelsea for Sunday's late game with the manager again without Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney for a match he views as significant in the champions' quest to stay in touch with the top clubs. United are five points behind fourth-placed Liverpool and nine points worse off than Chelsea in third, who in turn trail the leaders, Arsenal, by two.
"It's a big game. For us to try and hang in there and pick up the points, there is no doubt about that. But there are a lot of games to be played. We need to see if we can just pick up the games. Our league [form] hasn't been that bad," said Moyes of the five wins from the past six league outings. "I think this will be a tight game. I think Chelsea are improving."
The manager did not rule out playing without a dedicated striker at Stamford Bridge, where Mourinho has never experienced a league defeat. "We could. When you are a manager your job is to find ways to win the games and I think that is what José has done over the years. He has played in different ways to win games. Maybe it would have been reported differently if I had done it."
Moyes hopes to build on last Saturday's defeat of Swansea City, before Sunderland visit Old Trafford in midweek defending a 2-1 lead in the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg. "It's a chance to set up a really good 10 days. We have had a win against Swansea and we have a cup tie on Wednesday," Moyes said.
Of the six sides above United, they have beaten only Arsenal. So will Moyes remind his players of that victory as encouragement? "The team here have been used to big games over the years and I don't think they will see this one as any different," he said.
Moyes would not be drawn regarding whether he is targeting defending the title or merely Champions League qualification. "Given the position we are in, it would be wrong for me to come out and say something I couldn't back up or justify. So I am OK winning the next game," he said. "The longer it goes the more I can start to think about what's down the line. But I would always be thinking about being at the top. I wouldn't think about being anywhere else."
Moyes would not offer a precise date when Rooney and Van Persie may be available though the manager suggested the Dutchman, who is recovering from a thigh injury, may train with the rest of the squad on Monday. "I don't want to put a time on it but I think he will. If I could get him back on the grass and back out with us that would be a great boost for us all."
Rooney has a groin injury but is training, albeit away from the main group, and Moyes said the striker could possibly be back next week. He added: "I don't want to put a date on it because I don't want to say he will be fit for whatever game and then find he doesn't, but we've just got to take it bit by bit. I've watched him running today, he looks well, he's in really good condition. Overall we are pleased, we just hope we can get him back as quickly as we can, he's an important player."
With Anderson set to join Fiorentina on loan, Moyes will only allow Wilfried Zaha to leave on the same basis if injuries permit. "Wilfried Zaha has a chance. I have told him that if I can't get him the games I will put him out on loan," he said. "But he can't go out while we have Ashley Young and Nani injured and I would be surprised if anyone thought it was a possibility."
Regarding Anderson, Moyes said: "We've not been able to get him as many games as he'd hoped or we hoped we might get him so we feel as if it is a good opportunity for him. He's going to a good club and a good league, so hopefully it will be a benefit."