Eamon Dunphy has sympathy for Manchester United manager David Moyes as the Red Devils get set for the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light tonight. 

United go into the game on the back of a hugely disappointing exit from the FA Cup at the hands of Swansea at Old Trafford.

Dunphy told RTÉ 2FM's Game On last night that the situation was always going to be difficult for the former Everton boss because of the players present when he took over.

He said: “I have a lot of sympathy for him. He inherited a sub-standard squad. Last year they won the league by 11 points. Robin Van Persie had a magnificent season and scored the goals that mattered while Manchester City and Chelsea imploded.

“They didn't have a lot to beat and they did have the Ferguson factor which undoubtedly exists. It was his ability to get more out of players than they believe they have and to win a lot of matches that they might have lost. They went behind 14 times last year and came back and won the matches.

“David Moyes has inherited the biggest club in Britain and one of the biggest in Europe and was only able to make one signing in the close season in (Marouane) Fellaini from Everton.

“That was screwed up because of a new chief executive coming in at the same time and not realising the buyout clause. That was messy. They didn't go for top players that they clearly needed.”

Moyes has pledged to bring in new faces at Old Trafford but he has also spoken of a concern that the January transfer window could prove a difficult time to do so.

Dunphy said some of the performances in the defeat to Swansea showed the weakness in the squad.

He added: “A lot of those players are not good enough if Manchester United want to retain their status as one of the biggest clubs in the world. They are just not good enough. Fabio, who was sent off on Sunday, is not a Manchester United player. Seamus Coleman is.

“They need to be always buying and looking for the best. Every match you watch, you see a cut away shot to the stand and who is sitting there? Alex Ferguson. I believe he left behind a very bad situation for his successor to inherit.

“We don't know who makes the calls on the transfers, we don't know if the Glazers will give David Moyes the money he needs because he needs to buy three or four really top class players.

“The players that he has like (Nemanja) Vidic getting old, (Ryan) Giggs is 40, they don't really have a midfield. You look at players like Jonny Evans, is he good enough? No.

“(Alexander) Buttner who played on Sunday, is not good enough to play for Manchester United, not in a million years.

“The standards are very high as it should be given Manchester United's history. He is in a terrible position.”

Tonight’s semi-final takes on more significance for Moyes after the FA Cup exit as he chases a trophy in his first season, with the Champions League the only viable alternative should they fail to advance.

Asked whether Moyes’ position is in danger just months into his first season in charge, the RTÉ analyst insisted he must be given time to increase the quality in their ranks.

He concluded: “It couldn't be (under threat) at the moment. It would be unbelievable and wrong to expect David Moyes to inherit what he inherited and continue the success. You have to remember there are a lot of players wearing that red shirt who are under pressure, particularly at home, that are not good enough to wear it.

“There is pressure on Moyes but there is pressure on the players as well and I don't think most of those players are up to coping with it. Tom Cleverley, Jonny Evans and Antonio Valencia are good examples.

“These guys aren't good enough to play for United.

“Take Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie out of that club and they are just another Premier League club.”