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If you use social media, namely Twitter, you probably would have found several “Moyes Out!” tweets after the Newcastle defeat. With United out of the title race, the pressure is starting to pile on United’s new manager. Taking over from Sir Alex Ferguson is no small feat but how many United supporters expected Manchester United, one of the biggest clubs in the world, to be in 9th place in December after winning the league at a canter? Some supporters have already called for Moyes to be sacked. Others call for patience. Does Moyes have what it takes to steady the ship?
“I take complete responsibility for the results. Fortunately they have been good in the Champions League, but they have not been good in the Premier League, so I take responsibility for those as well.
“I would like results to be much better and I’ve no doubt they will be. It is tough, though, because we expect to win all the games.
“We have been inconsistent at times. We have played very well in some of the games in the Champions League and not so well in the Premier League, albeit we have lacked a little bit of good fortune at times in one or two of the games, which might have made a difference.” -David Moyes, pre-match presser
Is it really all Moyes’ fault or are we getting ahead of ourselves with this sort of criticism? Moyes is responsible for picking the team selections, defining the tactics used in each match, making the substitutions, and most importantly keeping morale high within the dressing room. But is he responsible for the players execution of the tactics? Is he responsible for Nani jumping out of a challenge? Evra switching off at certain stages of the game? Cleverley shirking from responsiblity? Let’s face it. Our players have not covered themselves in glory. This is the same squad that won the Premier League! Although we have weaknesses, we should be doing better than losing the possession battle at home to a side like Newcastle and looking live an average side.
Credit should certainly go to Newcastle and Alan Pardew for taking advantage of the wounded animal United has become. That game was the first time I felt Moyes was losing his grip on the players. It didn’t matter what he did or who he put on, the output was exactly the same. No desire to close down. Not getting open for a teammate. No urgency. It was shocking to watch and you wondered if the players really cared that much. The suggestion that United lack leaders like a certain Roy Keane is quite evident. After Newcastle scored, all the players’ heads dropped. Where was the leadership to pick ourselves up and inspire the team to get back into the game? It’s clear Moyes doesn’t have a stamp of authority on this squad. If Fergie came down to the touchline, that was enough for the players to get their act together. The atmosphere at Old Trafford could definitely be better but the fans can only do so much.
Let’s not forget the host of issues that have existed with this squad for the past few years. The midfield issue is nothing new on United supporters. Nor is the fact that our football hasn’t been so great to watch recently or that we mysteriously tail off after taking the lead whether it’s home or away. The fact that Fellaini has been our first CM signing since Hargreaves is incredible. Fergie found a way to succeed even with the deficiencies in midfield. In our last campaign, he must be thankful Carrick stayed fit all season. Carrick’s absence illustrated the cracks that he’s papered over. His return couldn’t come any sooner. However, Carrick’s presence shouldn’t have inhibited Sir Alex from improving the midfield. Maybe he thought it was better off to let Moyes decide for himself. The only problem was, our chief negotiator at that time, David Gill, was leaving too.
Moyes & Woodward certainly failed to perform during the summer transfer window. The bids for Fabregas, the Herrera pursuit,dithering on the Thiago deal, the last minute pursuits of Khedira and Coentrao, and the joint bid for Baines and Fellaini. We could have paid Fellaini’s release clause but decided to wait until the final day. If we were always intent on bringing Fellaini in, why not buy him and get him acclimated to the squad as soon as possible? I knew that without significantly improving the midfield we would struggle. You can’t expect Moyes to come in and instantly work miracles like Sir Alex did. Even though we were champions, you still focus on improving your squad. That’s what everyone else did and we’re paying the price for it.
We knew the transition wouldn’t be seamless but it doesn’t look like it’s gone as planned either. Last May was filled of talk of a big signing to accompany the beginning of Moyes’ stint as manager. It never came. Then Moyes decided not to heed Sir Alex’s advice on keeping the old coaching staff but bring his own crew. A crew of men who don’t have the experience of an environment akin to Manchester United’s. Out the door went years of experience. More importantly, an in-depth knowledge of the players and the expectations required. Knowledge which certainly could have been used at this stage of the season to help get these players back into gear.
It’s a decision Moyes and his team will have to live with as they come to grips with the magnanimous task of achieving success at one of the biggest clubs in the world. Perhaps in the long-term, it will all pay off but one has to ask if not heeding Sir Alex’s advice could severely cost Moyes. Time will tell. One thing is for sure, things must get better and fast. The competition for Top 4 looks to be at its utmost peak. While some fans feel United can manage without qualifying for Top 4, no Champions League football gives top players an easy excuse to leave. Does Rooney want to stick around for a transitional period when he’s at his peak?
Let’s not forget about the positives either. Rooney has been in excellent form and is enjoying life under his former manager. He looks like he could a run a marathon with ease! We’re not even at the halfway point and he is already at double figures for both goals and assists. Adnan Januzaj, the boy who has been a breath of fresh air and stepped up when United needed a spark. He looks destined for the top and what better way to excite the fans than to secure this talented youngster on a long-term deal. We’ve actually looked pretty good in Europe. That 5-0 whopping of Leverkusen was one of United’s best away victories in some time.
Everybody recognises United need to win games but in order to win games, the team needs to be performing up to a certain level or just hope that the luck goes our way. The board & owners will give Moyes time, but he needs to find a way to build confidence and belief in this squad. If he doesn’t, United will continue to struggle to get results and that long term of contract of his may not last so long.
David Moyes wasn’t my top choice to take over from Fergie but he’s here now and he needs our support. He needs to assert his authority and show he feels he has what it takes. The harsh reality he has to face is summed up well by a fellow Manchester United fan, “This squad would run through a brick wall for Sir Alex but not for Moyes”.
Thanks for reading!