Saturday’s loss to West Brom at home compounded more misery for already under-fire Manchester United manager David Moyes. Oh yes…if you’re still not aware, this has been the worst-ever start to a league season since 1989. The last time it happened was when Sir Alex Ferguson was re-building an ageing squad. Though the signs of banners with Ta Ra Moysey written appear bleak as for now, Moyes may turn to his mentor in order to recover from his difficult start as a manager of World Football giants.
Ok, the transition was always going to be difficult and all United faithful had anticipated that, but what most Moyes and supporters round the world would be most worried about is the fact that their side has shown no ambition on the field and have been playing some really awful football at times. I still feel the nature of Manchester United’s defeat at the Etihad Stadium has been somewhat underrated. The third and fourth goals were the sort of goals surrendered by team in a relegation battle they are resigned to losing. Ah yes…most fans would like to pin the blame on Glazers and their right hand man Ed Woodward (the man who was declared missing, after he skipped the AON Tour and went home to sort out urgent transfer matter!!!). The squad with all its qualities might be short of ‘world-class’ players, but mind you this is the same squad that won the premier league last season by 11 points.
When United fell 2-1 behind against West Brom, Old Trafford was anticipating a bombardment that never materialized. Sir Alex use to train his players for the final fifteen minutes of football matches, ensuring they were ready to turn defeats into draws and one point into three points. So far under David Moyes, United seem to lack stomach to fight back. Rather than remaining composed, certain players hid, frightened to play the killer ball. Wayne Rooney lost his touch after the equaliser, Robin Van Persie barely touched the ball even after playing 25 odd minutes and Nani was perhaps the most influential player in the second half, alongside teen-prodigy Adnan Januzaj.
David Moyes may have inherited a title-winning squad, but by no means it was an invincible squad. Last season, Manchester United’s midfield was overrun so many times, notably when Southampton run ragged at Old Trafford or when Chelsea mounted a stunning comeback in the FA Cup 6th round. Moyes needed new signings just to stamp his own authority, but that didn't materialize too. He missed out on some top quality players; Thiago, Strootman, Ozil, Eriksen…list goes on. After the weekend defeat, Moyes will have to make some difficult decisions.
Critics point to a lack of zest, hinting that training is perhaps too hard. Unlike Sir Alex, Moyes takes training himself and Wayne Rooney has been quick to pinpoint an increase in intensity to the previous sessions of first-team coach Rene Meulensteen. Rejuvenated Rooney has responded yet team-mates seem in his wake as they struggle without the squad rotation favored by Ferguson. Sir Alex Ferguson’s replacement has compared the re-building job he must undertake at United to the one he faced at Everton a decade ago. He was eventually successful
at Goodison Park, where top-six finishes on minimal budgets are to be celebrated. The stakes at United though, are much bigger.