Club Spirit or strength which has nothing to do with the quality of the players available is an elusive term; one that is impossible to quantify. Also it seems to be the only thing giving David Moyes and Manchester United some sort of optimism as they head into their first Champions League clash with Bayern Munich.
The Red Devils, beating Aston Villa 4-1 in the league, rely on that club spirit, history and power to overcome the huge quality difference in almost every position (Except maybe for striker, if Bayern will even use one) on the pitch, on the bench and the very important managerial role. Celtic beat Barcelona that way last season in the group stage: With the crowd pushing them on, with the special atmosphere in the stadium, and with some supreme defending, goalkeeping and a little bit of luck.
And that is why heads turning from just one win after it seemed Moyes has reached another low point in a disastrous season, with the support he got from the fans at the Old Trafford coming because of the flying sign and not because they think he is a great manager is a dangerous thing.
Because like it or not, Manchester United are a very limited side, finishing well below Champions League positions because they simply weren’t good enough this season. An aging defense combined with younger players who aren’t ready to play without the leadership of the veterans at their side. The problem is these veterans are almost like an Achilles heel when they’re actually playing.
Manchester United have a midfield, no matter who fills it, that has looked inferior against almost everyone this season, and it’s scary to think of how big the differences will be once Bayern arrive at the Old Trafford. Forget about the names of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm, Toni Kroos and Mario Gotze. Just remember how Bayern outplayed Manchester City in England when the two teams met in the group stage, and how bad Manchester United looked against their city rivals just over a week ago.
You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. And David Moyes with his talks about trying, working hard and whatever else he likes to say after losses and wins isn’t fooling anyone anymore. Neither are his assistants, or anyone else who hangs their faith heading into a match with the defending European champions on something they did 15 years ago in a stroke of luck, nothing more, in one memorable night in Barcelona.
David Moyes and Manchester United have been close to pathetic in their matches against the top nine teams in the Premier League this season, beating Arsenal in a home match and that’s about it. The rest has been a drift between playing badly or outright pathetic and humiliating. Bayern Munich are of that caliber – of teams who can make things very uncomfortable from the first minute, and make them look worse with every passing minute. David Moyes needs to hope his faith in something that can’t be measured will be answered, because that is probably the only way he doesn’t leave Old Trafford with another loss to a better team.