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The American says it is time for the reigning champion to show its quality and is backing his former side to end the season strongly.

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard says Manchester United’s players must take the blame for their recent slump and not coach David Moyes.

The Red Devils are currently in seventh place in the Premier League, five points behind Everton and 14 points off top spot.

United has also been knocked out of the FA Cup in the third round and suffered fresh misery on Wednesday when the club lost to Sunderland in the Capital One Cup semifinals.

United's Scottish boss has come under pressure for the recent poor results but Howard says it is the players who are to blame.

“David Moyes has come in for a lot of criticism but the one thing I will say is that he's never kicked a ball for Manchester United,” the former United shot-stopper told Sky Sports. “As players you have to stand up and be counted. It's a very easy thing to talk about the manager and unfortunately that's the pressure of it.

“But those players won the title last year and are a damn good side.”

The United States international has, however, backed the reigning Premier League champion to finish the season strongly.

“I have no doubt that they'll be right in the thick of it,” he added. “They are the reigning champions and still have a lot to prove to everyone. This season was always going to be one which everyone had an eye on. Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down and there was always going to be a lot of scrutiny.

“I still expect them to come good and push us but hopefully we can keep them down there.”

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