Even if David Moyes was handpicked by Alex Ferguson to be his successor at Manchester United, it doesn’t make him the right choice. The Sir has made mistakes over the years, including the kind of squad he left behind him, failing to upgrade it sufficiently in order to make the team immune to the moment of his departure.
Even if Manchester United’s most recent Champions League final wasn’t that long ago (2011), it seemed like too much has happened since. The main strength of that United team was an excellent defense, but Nemanja Vidic has been through too many injuries to look that dominant. And still he’s the team’s best centre back, while Rio Ferdinand is busy organizing unnecessary and lavish football awards to hide his declining form.
The midfield has been an issue for quite some time, and Ferguson failed in upgrading it for the past two or three years. It didn’t stop him from winning the title last season, but that was about Robin van Persie and Ferguon himself, who had the players dancing to a very different tune than the one David Moyes is playing them.
Patience is something that’s a must when a new manager comes in, especially to a system as big as Manchester United have to offer, very different than what Moyes worked around when managing at Everton, eventually winning nothing at Goodison Park except once managing to finish among the top 4.
But patience is only worth something when you feel the process is taking you to the right places. David Moyes and Manchester United have earned only 7 league points in six league matches, failing to score a goal from open play since the opening-day match against Swansea.
Moyes didn’t get the kind of players he wanted, but his transfer targets in the first place were almost impossible to reach – Cesc Fabregas? Bastian Schweinsteiger? A lot of blame has to fall on Ed Woodward, the man in charge of making those signings, but for Moyes to eventually push for Marouane Fellaini, a player that it’s not quite clear how much he’ll contribute to the team despite his £27 million price tag seems to have been another mistake.
And there are his selections on the pitch, as Shinji Kagawa, who Moyes knows can’t be a left winger in the style Manchester United play, is either left out of the squad completely or used in a position he can’t succeed in, only to be replaced at half time. There’s the insistence on using Phil Jones as a right back even if Fabio is available to replace his injured twin. There’s the obvious minute-giving to Adnan Januzaj, which is more a case of making him sign a new contract and hoping he doesn’t leave to a rival on a free transfer like United lost Paul Pogba to Juventus.
And there is what Moyes says – a defeatist as some might call him, somehow deflecting fire at his players instead of himself, which is rare to see from a top-club manager who plans on keeping his job for much longer. Moyes has also said he doesn’t have the quality on this team to win the Champions League. He also admitted he’s actually learning that Shinji Kagawa can play the 10. As if he needed to misuse him a couple of times to learn that. There’s also the complete replacement of the backroom staff, something Ferguson advised him against.
Worrying days for Manchester United, who still have Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney to rely on, who should be enough for a good season on their own, but beyond them things are bleak, and for the first time in more than 20 years, there’s no manager the players trust to get them out of this hole they’ve dug themselves.