Ryan Giggs has said there are no excuses for Manchester United's faltering start under David Moyes and denied that Sir Alex Ferguson's departure as manager has been a factor in the team's poor start to the campaign.

The 39-year-old made a record-breaking 145th appearance in the Champions League on Wednesday as United delivered a resilient display to draw with Shakhtar Donetsk at the Donbass Arena. The point leaves United level with the Ukrainian champions at the top of Group A, a contrast to their form in the Premier League, where three defeats in the past four matches has left the champions in 12th position.

Giggs admits the Scot's retirement has been felt at Old Trafford but believes the blame for United's poor run lies firmly with Moyes's players and insisted the club has overcome greater difficulties during his 22-year career at Old Trafford.

"Sir Alex was a great manager and a great influence on the team and the club. You are going to miss someone like that," said the United midfielder. "But I don't think that is an excuse when individuals aren't playing as well as they can. We are not playing well as a team. We haven't got injury problems as we have had in the past. There is no excuse.

"It hasn't been a great start to the season but the good thing about that is we have plenty of time to turn it round. We know what this club is like, it is ups and downs and we don't get carried away if we are flying and we don't get carried away when we are not playing well. I can't put my finger on what has happened. We have just not played as well as we can, both individually and as a team."

Despite being eight points adrift of Arsenal after only six league games, Giggs believes the inconsistent nature of this Premier League season gives United opportunity to mount a defence of the title. He said: "It is a weird season. City have been beaten twice. Nobody has hit the ground running who we'd have expected to. Obviously Arsenal are playing well, Tottenham and Liverpool are at the top, but there is enough time for us to turn it round and get back to the top and stay there."

Moyes and his coaching staff, which now includes Giggs, have been under fierce scrutiny after successive league defeats at Manchester City and at home to West Bromwich Albion. But Giggs insists United faced, and overcame, bigger problems during Ferguson's 27-year reign.

"It's not the most difficult season I've had in my career," he stated. "There have been topsy-turvy seasons in the past. I have been in the team for 20-odd years and I have seen more or less everything. You would rather be showing this form at the start of the season than at the end.

"We have just got to hang in there to the turn of the year, as we always say, and then hopefully hit a bit of form like we historically do. We have to take responsibility as players and do that. The results have shown we haven't played as well as we can do. We know the quality in the dressing room. We are the champions, so we showed that quality last year and we have to show it again."

Giggs overtook the former Real Madrid striker Raúl as the record appearance holder in the Champions League on Wednesday, although his United tally includes qualifiers, and Uefa does not include qualifying matches in its official count. He added: "I am obviously pleased with that record. It is the pinnacle of European football, the Champions League, and to overtake a legend like Raúl is special for me. It's just a shame it wasn't with a win but I think it was a professional European performance away from home. We wanted to make ourselves hard to beat and I think we did that."