It’s very difficult to understand what’s going on inside the head of David Moyes, perplexing everyone with his comments after terrible Manchester United matches yet showing plenty of ambition and understanding of just how bad this season has been so far.
Maybe it’s about shifting the blame – from him to the players, or from himself to the whole situation, as if being the one who replaces Alex Ferguson was a setup to fail in the first place, and until given a full summer to conduct his own changes, this club isn’t going to succeed and nor should anyone expect it to.
On one hand, David Moyes speaks the truth about the club underachieving so far this season: I am not going to accept it… I’m disappointed that we’re not in a much stronger position. I’m disappointed with how we have played. I will ultimately take the rap for that, but what I will do is make it right. I’m going to get better players in. There will be more. (Coming from him after signing Juan Mata).
But then there’s this – his tendency to outright lie after matches, especially the bad ones, and make it seem like he was seeing a completely different game from the dugout: I thought the performance was really good. I thought we played well. We created numerous opportunities; we played well, but we didn’t pick anyone out around the box.
Something just isn’t clicking for Manchester United and especially for Moyes. The long ball, crossing style isn’t yielding success, but the team won’t move away from it. The fact that you have speedy wingers doesn’t mean you need to use them in order to take shortcuts, which have proven time and time again to be the wrong decision. United connected on only 5 of 33 crossing attempts in their loss at Stoke, with the windy weather making it especially mind boggling as to why they remained with the same mindset instead of switching to keeping the ball on the ground.
Like in losses to Everton and Newcastle at home this season, sometimes it seems that every time Moyes is stuck with a tactical problem, which means a team is defending deep and tight against Manchester United, his answer is to start with the aerial attack, only without showing anything for it. Maybe it’s a sign that he has no confidence in his midfield players and is trying to keep the ball away from them as much as possible. Even though they might not be as talented as the bunch at Chelsea or Arsenal, giving them the chance to create and pass the ball instead of flinging it into the box has a better chance of succeeding, especially since the current plan isn’t working.
Sometimes it’s hard to understand what managers and their staff see during matches that so many of the viewers who see a dysfunctional team playing in the wrong way, with the results to back their opinions, don’t. David Moyes isn’t shifting, and doesn’t care about using the wrong players in the wrong positions to make his “vision” work. He shouldn’t be surprised if he’ll have to give a few more “we played well” speeches after a few more surprising (not so much anymore) defeats this season.