Troubled Moyes prepares for monumental European encounter
David Moyes is troubled. His frequent shows of exasperation have become a regular sight on the Old Trafford touchline, with the club in the midst of a crisis. But Champions League progression would change all of that, including his recurrent agitated facial expression.
The Scot was forced to confront reality post-match on Sunday, having feebly vanquished to rivals Liverpool, admitting the United job was harder than he had first thought. "The job was always going to be hard," he said. When pushed if the post was not just hard, but harder than he had hoped, the man who has overseen a 43-point swing to United's fiercest enemy, had to reply in the affirmative. "Harder? Yes I would say so, yes."
With each demoralising defeat, the ire of the United supporters are directed at the Scot. He is walking on a thin stretch of uncertainty. Wednesday evening should do the deciding.
It has the capacity to satisfy the ardent and doubtful United support as elimination does to intensify their increasing concerns. Losing the backing of the fans would be adverse. Retaining their support would be vital.
Old Trafford has been purgatory for Moyes, suffering defeat a record eight times this season. But fortunes, and Olympiakos' two-goal advantage, must transpire into a dramatically memorable evening at the Theatre Of Dreams.
The Scot must overturn the two-goal deficit, obtained through Alejandro Dominguez and Arsenal loane Joel Campbell. Prior to that, the first complication at his hands is to somehow elevate his imitable, indomitable side.
Unites were humiliated on Sunday by bitter rivals Liverpool. The defeat, which diminished any hope of Champions League qualification through the league, underlined Moyes's fortune of being at the helm of a stable, tolerant club. Sir Alex Ferguson implored the Stretford End and co to ardently support his Scottish counterpart, an ask they have healthily fulfilled. But elimination on Wednesday night and the defiant mood around Old Trafford will alternate. Moyes needs a result.
It would do a lot for the confidence of his side, beaten low by a classy Liverpool team. United were abject, dearth of any creative ideas, an outcome which should be non-existent given the attacking talents at the club of Juan Mata, Adnan Januzaj, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney.
As they, along with Moyes, attempt to preserve their existence in this season's Champions League, Olympiakos jet in sanguinely, having clinched the Greek Super Liga title on Saturday and boasting a two-goal advantage here.
While the Greeks were superior three weeks ago, United's common show of poor displays proceeded in Athens. Moyes's side were bereft of vivacity and motivation on an evening in which they waved goodbye to the Champions League.
If they are unable to stage a cherished European night on Wednesday.
It will be difficult, but United indisputably possess the demanded quality to score two and force the second-leg into extra-time, even to ensure advancement beyond the allocated ninety minutes. However, they must avoid a similar display of the abysmal kind they produced in the backdrop of the famed Acropolis. Olympiakos, as they have already proven, will provide the Red Devils with a detailed examination of character and quality, an assessment United must pass if they are to clamp down on suggestions of a swift demise.
United will not win another Premier League title for a decade, claimed footballer turned-pundit Danny Mills. Moyes must be sacked, said the footballing public, accusing the Scot of dismantling an empire.
The good a positive result has to offer is indescribable. Moyes has overseen a few monumental encounters during his experienced career, but this viably tops the lot.
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