People put the bad start down to life after Sir Alex Ferguson, but when David Moyes began his tenure in July, he walked through the doors at Old Trafford and made wholesale changes.
He removed the backbone of the Manchester United backroom staff that had brought success in recent years.
Ferguson himself advised Moyes to retain his old team but he resisted the suggestion from his predecessor and replaced them with his trusted old guard from Everton.
He removed the likes of first-team coach Rene Meulensteen, Ferguson’s assistant Mike Phelan and goalkeeping coach Eric Steele; replacing them with the relatively young Steve Round, his trusted assistant at Goodison Park; Jimmy Lumsden and Chris Woods.
This evidently contributed to the Red Devils’ worst top-flight start to a season since 1989.
David De Gea hasn’t looked the reliable stopper he has developed into in the last year or so and the squad on a whole are underperforming.
Granted, Ferguson was a key figure but the behind scenes work of Phelan and Meulensteen are highly underrated and clearly a missing factor to United’s slump.
You can understand Moyes for wanting to make his stamp on the club but changes can happen too soon and this is evidence of this. He should have kept the majority of the backroom staff, not only for the good of the team, but for himself.
There’s a lot he could learn from wise men Phelan and Meulensteen and it would have been beneficial for his personal development in the step-up from the Goodison Park hotseat to the Old Trafford ‘throne’.
Whilst the damage is done, there is little Moyes can do now. Could he bring Phelan back into the fold short-term? Meulensteen is having his own taste of management with Fulham, but surely Phelan would be tempted back to help the club’s revival and save Moyes’ blushes.
Bringing in old Manchester United rearguards such as Ryan Giggs and Phil Neville into his team was an understandable notion but it is yet to be a decision that has set the world alight and Moyes must learn that the transition from the Fergie era is going to be a slow process.
Now he may regretting the changes but he and his men clearly need to bring in new faces and clear-out some of Ferguson’s regulars in an attempt to put his own stamp on the team.
Getting rid of Fergie’s players is one thing, but removing his backroom staff is another and something he may regret in the long run.