David Moyes had planned to stay at Everton before Man Utd move

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Moyes 'wasn't planning to leave'

David Moyes says he was planning to stay at Everton next season but could not turn down the chance of becoming Manchester United manager.

Moyes, 50, whose Everton contract expires this summer, to

The Scot was set to extend his 11-year stint at Goodison Park before United made their move.

Asked whether he had considered turning down United's approach, Moyes said: "I have to be honest and say no."

He added: "I wasn't planning on leaving. My contract was running out but we were planning for pre-season. All we've ever done is keep planning.

"I've got everything ready for next season and the chairman and everyone knows the route we need to take next season. This is a club competing to be in Europe."

Celtic manager Neil Lennon played down speculation linking him with a move to Goodison Park, while Michael Laudrup, another potential target, wants to remain at Swansea.

Moyes, who did not answer direct questions about United, admits he would understand any negativity from Everton fans when he takes charge of his final home game against West Ham at Goodison Park on Sunday.

But he maintains he will be approaching the game like any other in his spell on Merseyside.

He said: "I hope they react the way [they did when] I first stepped in the door. If they don't, I can understand because I'm a fan myself.

"They support their team but I'll stand in the same position and keep everything focused. The big thing is that we finish the season with as many points as we can and there's still an outside chance of Europe."

Premier League champions Manchester United moved for Moyes after Ferguson, who will stand down after more than 26 years in charge at the end of the season, recommended his fellow Scot as his successor.

Moyes says he will happily do the same for Everton and has already discussed the matter with chairman Bill Kenwright.

He said: "I've spoken to the chairman. He asked me and I'll help as much as I possibly can.

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Top bosses on David Moyes at Man Utd

"It has been very difficult. I have great respect for the chairman and have a great relationship with him. He is a really good guy. We had a difficult meeting on Wednesday but he totally understood.

"Walter Smith [Moyes' predecessor] recommended me for the job and if there's anything I can do to help Bill Kenwright and Everton then that's what I'll do."

Everton have only finished outside the top half of the table in two of Moyes' 10 full seasons in charge and are sixth in the table with two games of the current campaign remaining.

He said he was proud of the progress the club had made over the past decade.

"I'm disappointed to be leaving such a great club. The club has been such a great part of my life," he added.