Conspiracy theory? Bad players? Bad manager? Whatever it is, something (a lot of somethings) isn’t working at Old Trafford, becoming a stage for setting long forgotten records as Manchester United under David Moyes has turned into something of a laughing stock, and the manager trying to blame everyone else but himself simply doesn’t seem to be working.
Come to think of it, why should it? He’s been trying a few approaches this season, none of them giving him or his club more than two-three weeks of relief. There’s the ‘we played well, we were unlucky’ speeches he gives after matches, which should work in his benefit in front of the dressing room. However, he loves to counter that by saying that he needs more signings, better players. How do you think the locker room feels about that?
There is speculation and there’s fact. We’ll try and stick with what’s actually known. Moyes spent 11 seasons with Everton. The best he’s gotten with them is 4th place in the Premier League, but missing out on the Champions League group stage. He has no major European success, no trophy. The budgets he had to work with at Everton were usually not the kind that allowed him to bring in big names or too expensive players. The style in which Everton played wasn’t exactly an enjoyable one (although that’s opinion, not fact) and he had an awful record against big teams, especially away from home, and everywhere when playing Liverpool.
Moyes isn’t in charge of signing players. He tells Ed Woodward who he wants to be signed and the executive vice-
So how bad is Moyes doing? Alex Ferguson won the championship with the same team, but Manchester United from last year isn’t the same team as this one. Not the same style of football, and obviously not the same dressing room influence. Ferguson built this team to match his own style – simply play in the midfield and relying on strong play from the wings. Antonio Valencia, Nani and Ashley Young have seen better days. The versions playing for Moyes aren’t the same players that did very well for Ferguson in recent years, excluding Young, who hasn’t been a major part of anything since arriving at Old Trafford.
Is Moyes right that he needs better players to match expectations? Probably. Last season was a weird one in the Premier League. A combination of Robin van Persie being in sensational form while all the other big clubs suffering from bad management and very weak seasons. Manchester United did lose against Chelsea and Manchester City at home, but that was deep in the season’s garbage time.
Is Moyes responsible for this current failure? He has to be part of it. People don’t want to say that Ferguson set him up for a fall, but the weakness of this squad has something to do with Ferguson’s signings in recent years. However, Moyes not being able to get out more from these players has to be held against him. There’s only so many times you can hint at your players being bad or unlucky before it gets a little bit old, and even the most patient of fans and owners see you for what you probably are.