David Moyes squirming during the derby match which Manchester City won 3-0. – EPA Photo
DAVID Moyes’ honeymoon period as Manchester United’s manager is well and truly over.
The fans have turned against him, the media have become hostile and if rumours are to be believed, even the man who was instrumental in his appointment, Sir Alex Ferguson, is no longer backing him at the boardroom level.
We’ve heard the arguments in January when United’s form nose-dived. “We are not a sacking club like Chelsea or Man City. The manager needs time to rebuild the side. He inherited an ageing team from Ferguson. The players have to look at themselves, they are just not playing for their manager.”
Yes, I even had argued in this column that although results had not gone our way, it would be foolhardy to sack the manager.
I’m not sure any longer.
After the midweek thrashing by City, we can reach certain conclusions about the Moyes version of United. This is a team that have gone down all too easily against the top six sides in the league. Only Arsenal have given us four points. The rest, the likes of Liverpool, City, Chelsea, Everton and Spurs have beaten us home and away. This is just not acceptable.
Against City and Liverpool, the Red Devils were bereft of ideas once they went behind. The team had a distinct lack of pace (unimaginable during the Ferguson era) and Moyes was tactically outwitted by both Rodgers and Pellegrini. In fact, looking at the big games this season, the Scot has proven himself to be tactically naive.
But the biggest indictment against David Moyes is how well his former club is playing. I know it sounds simplistic and absurd, but Moyes’ United are playing like Everton and the Roberto Martinez-led Everton are playing the United way. Everton’s performance against Newcastle (3-0 win) was a joy to watch. Martinez, who surely is destined for bigger things, had the Blues purring. The likes of Coleman, Barkley, Baines and Lukaku have all benefited from the Spaniard’s coaching and tactics.
The first signs of open revolt were there for all to see at Old Trafford against City. Progress to the Champions League quarter-finals was an unexpected bonus for Moyes, but how many United fans actually expect us to go through against the all-conquering Bayern Munich?
There is a theory that because United fans have been fed a steady diet of trophy-laden success, they will not tolerate a season without a trophy. This is not true. The Red Devils have been vocal in their backing of Moyes even at the end of the 3-0 defeat by Liverpool.
What we won’t stand for is the manner in which we have meekly submitted to our fate against the big boys. That’s why the tide has turned.
I’m old enough to remember the dark ages of the ‘80s when Liverpool were the top dog. We knocked them off their perch, and this one season in hell will not change anything.
The danger is that this barren season could be extended to two if Moyes is still at the helm of our great club.