What’s different between this Manchester United, the one David Moyes is managing, than the one from last season? The players are the same, give or take a few injuries. And yet the under pressure manager is trying to make it seem like he’s doing an excellent job, taking his frustration out at the referees instead of himself and his own players, while making it seem like the quality he has to work with just simply isn’t as good as it actually is.
Moyes was already planning for the criticism arrows to come. Tottenham are on fire since making their managerial change, and have been giving Manchester United plenty of problems in recent years. An aggressive approach in the midfield (until Moussa Dembele ran out of steam) and some awful Manchester United defending against very slow counter attacks gave Spurs a 2-0 lead they managed to hang on to (Danny Welbeck managed to peg one back) despite the amazing pressure against the ultra-attacking Manchester United lineup in the final minutes.
Instead of taking the blame for putting on an injured Wayne Rooney who didn’t help one bit during the match in his midfielder role, once again forgetting to give Shinji Kagawa a proper chance, Moyes preferred attacking the referee. Danny Welbeck dove, Adnan Januzaj can’t stop diving (and getting booked for it) while Ashley Young didn’t dive, but he didn’t deserve a penalty kick.
Moyes had this to say after the match – we played very well, we just didn’t convert chances. In most Manchester United defeats this season, that’s been his punchline. So is it just their conversion rates? Until Tottenham practically stopped playing, Manchester Untied barely had a whiff at goal. The Tom Cleverley-Michael Carrick-Wayne Rooney midfield trio didn’t create anything, and Adnan Januzaj became dangerous only after being moved to the right wing and playing against Danny Rose instead of Kyle Walker who was too big for Januzaj to handle.
Before the match Moyes spoke about needing to do some serious work in order to rebuild Manchester United – the same team that had the Premier League title in the bag this time last year. The conspiracy theories suggests Alex Ferguson knew that a major retooling was in order at some point and preferred to get away from the job before things go South, but does having his influence on the players make that much of a difference?
Moyes doesn’t say. He simply makes it seem like he has a bad squad, pretty much from the start, which probably doesn’t help with some relationships he has among certain players. He knows he needs new players, but isn’t too keen on signing players in January. Missing out on the Champions League is more real than ever, and I’m not sure the ownership had that in mind when the season began. However, it’s unlikely that even with his attempts at deflecting blame at everything but him, he’ll stay on until the end of the season and get one full summer to sign his own players, even though there’s the risk he’ll mess up that as well.