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Today we have the pleasure of welcoming a few Evertonians and Manchester United Reds on Trulyreds as they shared their views on David Moyes. I have been talking with each of them over the past few days and I think you will appreciate their insight!
1. What was your initial reaction to the news that Moyes was the new manager of Manchester United?
SW: I wasn’t surprised that Moyes left us but I certainly was surprised that he became the United manager considering he has no major trophies under his belt despite how well he has done with us in terms of making us a stable top 6 team. I would have thought that United would want someone with a bit of experience in the CL and with a team fighting for a title, but Sir Alex Ferguson obviously thinks Moyes will be able to handle the pressure.
ED: As soon as I heard the news I was honestly shocked. Everyone in football knows how many times it’d been said that Moyes would replace Ferguson but I never bought into it, nor did a lot of other Evertonians. I’d always thought he was too inexperienced, too tactically naive and too negative to take over at United. I’m still pretty surprised United chose him over a Klopp/Mourinho type.
FF: My initial reaction to the news of Moyes’ departure was disappointment, knowing he’d end his tenure at the club without a trophy. I have great respect for Moyes’ efforts at the club & how he has been abled to transform us into a competitive premiership side. Though he did never manage to take us to that ‘next level’, whenever we had the chance to drive onto a second 4th place finish, or for a major trophy, Moyes was unable to guide us through that next step. Often his negative tactics in the last 2/3 years that could be costly in big matches, often seeming he didn’t have the confidence in the squad in the bigger away games, hence his abysmal away record at the original top 4.
2. What can you tell us about Moyes as a manager? What did you see as his main strengths and weaknesses?
SW: It will obviously be different at United but i think that there were times when he tried to be too defensive, even last season when we were playing some of the best football in ages and probably within the league itself he was bring on a 3rd centre back to tighten things up and to be honest it just made the whole defence clueless to what they were doing and we ended up losing points due to it. Goals have always been a problem for us, but with RVP/Rooney (i think he will stay)/Hernandez you have prolific players so you should be alright.
One of his main strengths would probably be in the transfer market in making cheap buys into top top players. I don’t think most people would have thought that people like Jagielka, Lescott etc would have became Internationals or be sold to the top clubs but he did that. Coleman for around 250k could end up being one of his best ever buys at this rate as he is becoming one of the best RBs in the league, just behind Zabaleta and Rafael.
ED: His strengths, at Everton anyway, were usually solidity, in footballing terms and in spirit. Organisation, and despite what a lot of people say, people who clearly didn’t want Everton over the past 2 or 3 years, he plays some really nice football. His weaknesses were indecision, substitutions too late when all but he could see they were needed. Predictability ultimately, through a lack of a plan B, and an infuriating trend to pick apparent favourites in the squad over form, and often flair players.
FF: I see Moyes as a fierce & inspirational manager, able to get the best out of his players constantly, but tactically I think he was often disappointing. He could be very one dimensional and the brand of football on offer was often not the most attractive to watch, although it did occasionally grind out some great results.
3. How would you sum up his time at Everton?
SW: He was a good manager, he did very well to turn us into what we have become. He managed to get us into Europe on a number of occasions and we were very unlucky not to get into the CL proper, which would have been unbelievable to think of during the time when the top 4 was still mainly ye olde top 4. He has left us with one of the strongest squads i can remember us having with some quality players who could all play for top 4 teams (Fellaini, Baines, Jagielka, Mirallas, Coleman) not to mention youth players like Stones/Barkley who could go on to great heights aswell. The only disappointing thing is the lack of a trophy of which we had two great chances to (If only Saha’s goal was a bit later and we played anyone but Liverpool in that semi!)
ED: Overall, he was absolutely fantastic for us. The last 3 seasons were stagnant, stale and negative but those aside, what he did for Everton football club was quite magnificent. As a kid growing up in the 90s supporting Everton was extremely painful. Fighting relegation each season, watching some terrible football under the likes of Mike Walker and Walter Smith. Then along comes this fresh faced fella from Preston North End and almost immediately he has us picking up results, consistently, something I’d never known as an Everton fan. Then obviously there was the season we got 4th, an absolute dream of a season, we felt unstoppable, unfortunately our prize the following season was taken away prematurely by a horrifically bad refereeing decision. Later he had us in the Uefa cup & then Europa league, fairing pretty decently too. What he did was, turning us from a forgotten giant, to regular European candidates, was an incredible job. It can never be understated.
FF: Overall I believe his time at Everton was successful, but I don’t see him as a legend of the club, due to his inability to take us to the next level.
4. Do you think he’ll be a success at United?
SW: Yes, i think he has the attributes to do so but i think it could take until next year before he wins his first trophy, not including the Community Shield. This year will be a big learning curve for him and at the moment it doesn’t look like you are any closer to strengthening your midfield problem, which is something Chelsea and City have been doing, strengthening. If he wins a trophy this year i think it will be one of the Cups.
ED: I’m torn. I think modern football, particularly at a club like United where results, all the times and trophies all the time are an absolute necessity, may be his downfall. He’ll undoubtedly need time and money & truthfully I just don’t think he’ll get both. As soon as United hit a sticky patch of form, whenever it may be, the media will sturr up pressure, turning fans against him until the noises get too loud & the board will sack him. His saviour may well come in the form of Sir Alex though.
FF: With patience & persistence I can indeed see him being a success at United, but it may take him time to adapt. The level of expectation is of course far greater, he will most certainly have to develop his tactical side to suite the club better. But, I believe if given time, he will find a level of success at United, but the fans will have to be patient.
5. How do you feel about your new manager Martinez? I’ve heard he’s someone who can make you a believer of his philosophy within the first 5 minutes of meeting him!
SW: I like him, I also like that he is Spanish, as it means we may be having a closer relationship with Spanish clubs, and players, such as the Deulofeu loan which could become a cracking deal if we play our cards right (No fee if he plays in 50% of games apparently!). He has addressed areas we needed a bit of depth in also, but funnily enough i still think we need an extra body in CM perhaps. From what i have seen of us i have really enjoyed the possession game we have had, the only thing that i have noticed is that there aren’t a lot of chances being created and sometimes the CBs looked a bit wobbly passing it around. This should improve in time, especially with people like Mirallas who is pacy and a player like Baines who creates chance over chance every season.
ED: I’m excited by him. Very excited. I like that he’s so intelligent & ambitious. He said to Bill Kenwright “I’ll get you into the champions league”, stuff like that just wouldn’t happen with Moyes, he always said “40 points is our target” before each season, it’s so refreshing to hear a man ready to just go for it. His style of play is obviously exciting, as long as he can keep our defence solid I see no reason why we can’t do very well next season. We have some incredibly talented attackers. Used to their potential we could well surprise a lot of people.
FF: I am entering the new season as confident as I ever have. He seems to have given the fan base a boost with his fresh approach to the game. Although respecting what Moyes had done, there was no doubting many we’re becoming tired of him & I believe the majority would NOT take him back now if offered.
6. Finally, what are your expectations for this upcoming season? Top 4 predictions?
SW: I expect us to come no lower than 8th. I think this might be the year that Liverpool overtake us due to it being as big a learning curve for Martinez as it will be for Moyes. If we finish 8th and play superb football i will be happy, as we won’t have dramatically fallen and we will be doing the right thing on the pitch, and the foundations to grow on will have been built.
In terms of the top 4 i think that Chelsea/United/City will be the challengers with Chelsea being the victors. United to be second and City to follow closely behind. Spurs and Arsenal will contest the last spot but it’s a tricky choice as if Bale leaves i can’t see Spurs being 4th but if Arsenal don’t sign someone of significance and Bale stays i think they may finally sneak above their rivals.
ED: No idea. Change my mind on a daily basis. Right now? Top 7 is what I’m expecting, with hope that we can hit the ground running & push the top 4 for as long as possible.
FF: Upcoming season: At the moment I see Man City taking the title, due to the strength in depth there’ve added this summer, whilst Man Utd have remained inactive to date. Chelsea have brought in Mourinho, but I still think they’re a lacking a marquee signing.
My prediction for the top 8 is as follows Man City, Chelsea, Man Utd, Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool, Everton, Swansea.
1. What was your initial reaction to the news that Moyes was the new manager of Manchester United?
FM: Honestly? I was underwhelmed. I can understand why the club made the appointment – longevity, namely – but my feeling was that we needed a manager sprinkled with stardust because it’s such a monumental job to step into. Once the decision was made though, it was always going to be a case of supporting Moyes fully. In fairness, I do like the way he carries himself.
KM: Obviously, after the sudden news that Sir Alex Ferguson retired, I was shocked. Shocked for days. Rumors began circulating online and by journalists that David Moyes would be our new manager. I was first a bit disappointed, a club like Manchester United should’ve gotten a world class manager, like Pep or Mourinho. However, after thinking about this for days, I came to the conclusion that David Moyes is a much better candidate for the long term. He likes to promote youth and he doesn’t spend silly amounts of money on players we don’t need.
MM: Concern, always felt the day Sir Alex retired wed need to go with someone proven at the top level with a track record of both success and managing at the highest level of competition.
2. Was he your top choice? If not, who were your other choices?
FM: Easy – Mourinho. A massive personality with a proven track record of winning trophies.
KM: To be completely honest, at the time he wasn’t my first choice. I first wanted Mourinho, but after realizing that his ego and attitude could damage our club, I was glad we didn’t go for him. Pep Guardiola was my second choice, however given his attitude towards the end of his reign at Barca I was skeptical. I didn’t want a manager who wanted a break from management 4 years after taking the helm. So I think Moyes is the right choice.
MM: Mourinho was the ideal candidate in my opinion and my first choice, he had both the track record of success and the ego to deal with the huge task of taking over from Sir Alex which I thought was just a big a plus. Outside of him, I’d have loved Klopp, his style of football his personality and his ability to build teams from younger players was very Sir Alex like. I saw a lot of similarities from Klopp’s Dortmund to Sir Alex’s United.
3. What do you like about Moyes so far?
FM: He’s a good guy and a classy person. He’s humble and he’s delighted to be here. I think he’ll help public perceptions of United, not that that necessarily matters! He seems to have given some of the younger lads a chance too, which is important if you look at the traditions of the club. Most importantly, he has displayed a real willingness to address the chronic central midfield issue we have, albeit fruitlessly thus far.
KM: I like the fact that Moyes gave the youth a chance during pre-season. Seeing the likes of Lingard, Januzaj, Michael Keane, Henriquez, we saw a glimpse of the future United, and the future looks bright.
MM: I like how he’s seemingly not changed himself. Early days of course but the way he talks to the media and conducts himself with great class has impressed me, I think he’s a man of great integrity and I think that’s one of the reasons Sir Alex wanted him as his replacement, outside of that it’s hard to draw any other positive conclusions as we simply haven’t had sufficient time.
4. Have you had a chance to follow pre-season? What have you made of our performances thus far (including the Community Shield)?
FM: Second half against Sevilla and the Community Shield is all I’ve taken in, so what I’ve seen hasn’t been too bad! We were polished enough against Wigan and played some really nice combination-football at times. Personally, I don’t get too hung up on pre-season. If you look at it, it’s a commercial and fitness exercise. A lot of our key players didn’t feature that heavily throughout the summer because international commitments/needing a rest, so it’s all been a bit fractious. All the players have commented on the quality of our pre-season preparations, which is great to hear. That said, they’re hardly going to say differently!
KM: Yes, I’ve watched all our pre-season games and community shield games. Believe it or not, I actually was impressed. The young lads had a good runout and showed the world what they can do on the big stage. People often think that pre-season is all about the results, when in fact it isn’t. It’s all about regaining fitness after a long summer holiday. The community shield was a good solid win, it was our first game where all the regulars featured in, and with all due respect to the Wigan supporters, we brushed them aside.
MM: Yes, I have watched every one of our preseason games. Despite the patchy results I’ve actually been quite pleased with the performances. We’ve played on the whole good football and given many of the younger players opportunities which is undoubtedly one of Moyes mandates for the job. I’ve been very impressed with Zaha and Januzaj to name 2 and I like the 4-3-3 system we’ve at times used. I’d love to see more of that as I think it suits the players we have much better than 4-4-2, 4-2-3-1.
5. Has it fully sunk in for you that Sir Alex is no longer the manager? I still find it weird seeing David Moyes on the dugout.
FM: It was really emotional at the time. I remember feeling dumbstruck when I found out the news at work, and the remainder of the season was a mixture of sadness and nostalgia. That said, the world of football just seems to move on so quickly, so I’d say I’m fully recovered now! In a way, having known nothing but Fergie, this is quite an exciting change.
KM: No, I still can’t believe it’s happening. I’m only 16 and I grew up watching Sir Alex manage my team. I’ve watched United ever since I was 8 years old in Virginia. I used to wake up early in the mornings to see my beloved team play. When the news broke out, I couldn’t help but tear up a little bit in the bathroom stalls at school. Checking various websites to see if it was actually happening and it wasn’t a wind up by the Twitter jokers.
MM: For me yes. The first few days after Sir Alex announced he was going, it was a huge shock and the usual expected concerns were there as I’m sure everyone else can testify. Yet i actually found myself rather excited in a strange way. Like for many others I’ve never known Manchester United without Sir Alex Ferguson. I’m 25 years old and yet hes all I’ve known! So whilst it will be strange and sad to no longer see the great man in the dugout, I’m actually quite excited to see how we go without Sir Alex at the helm. There were a few things about our football I didn’t like towards the end of Sir Alex’s reign and I’m hoping the new boss may implement them, time will tell.
6. What are your thoughts on United’s activity in the transfer window? City and Chelsea looked to have strengthened their squads.
FM: We’ve been poor – there’s nothing else to say about it. The club built expectations up with some big talk at the start of the window, and they haven’t backed it up. City have done the best business – they’ve strengthened themselves in terms of depth, and Pellegrini seems to be running a very smoothly sailing ship. Chelsea’s business hasn’t overly impressed me; they’re still in desperate need of a top drawer striker.
KM: I’ve been known to regularly criticize the club’s transfer activity on Twitter this summer. I find it highly alarming that we still haven’t signed anyone yet apart from future youngsters like Zaha and Valera. With our greatest manager leaving the helm, I would have thought that the club would bring in some signings to ease the fans throughout this hard time. However, they’ve just made it worse with no signings. Last season, we won the league because of Robin Van Persie and City slipping up at vital moments. This season City have brought in a better manager in Pellegrini and have strengthened the squad remarkably. While we still haven’t done a thing. I’m not happy, let’s put it that way.
MM: Disappointed and frustrated to be honest. I know David Moyes only officially took over on July 1st but that hasn’t stopped other managers, namely Pellegrini, who started even later than Moyes making numerous signings therefore I’m not buying it as an excuse. I never like leaving transfers so late in the window for many reasons, lack of time for new players to bed in with new team mates, get accustomed to the club and fit not only into the dressing room but out on the pitch. This season that’s even more of a problem given our ridiculously tough start to the campaign. New players will have to hit the ground running if indeed there even are anyway.
I remain hopeful there will be but even if there are, we’ve given ourselves a real problem in bedding them in, the last thing you want to be doing is scrambling around on deadline day for new players, a situation we’ve not been used to at United so that will be another reality check post Ferguson. I happen to think these next few weeks of the window could go a long way to shaping our season and Moyes’.
7. Finally, what are your expectations for this upcoming season? Where do you see United finishing compared to the other title challengers?
FM: Play good football, see the younger lads in the squad given a fair chance and challenge for trophies. As usual, we’ll be there or there about on all fronts. Stories about our impending demise are nonsense – there’s still too much quality and experience in the squad for things to crumble. Most of all, I hope our fans maintain their self-control if things do go awry – it won’t be good to see “Sack Moyes” sentiment.
KM: I can’t give you a definite prediction just yet, but I can assure you we’ll be in the top three. If Moyes brings in a central midfielder who can partner Carrick, and bring out the best in our wingers, I have no reason to think we can’t win the league again. Our defense, goalkeeper, and attack are world class. Just need that midfielder to come in and we’ll be good to go.
MM: It’s hard to say before the deadline as right now, we have no idea what our squad will be going into the season. As it stands, I’m hopeful more than expectant if I’m honest. The squad is the same one that won the league so comfortably last season so we should at the very least remain extremely competitive league wise and even without signings, I’d expect us to challenge for the title if not win it. I don’t hold out much hope in Europe though. I think we are a long way behind some of Europe’s giants right now and for that to change we need to bring in some serious quality namely in the midfield area. If we go into the season as we are now, I’d say we’re a quarter final team at best in terms of the champions league. As for the domestic cups, I hope we can finally end our hoodoo in the FA cup. Has been far too long since we won that competition. Amazing to think Rio Ferdinand celebrating his 10 years at the club only a week ago has never won the FA cup! That needs to change.