When Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement, the first question that came to the minds of football fans and experts around the world is “Who will succeed him at the club?”.
One thing was for sure; whoever did succeed him had the unenviable task of filling the boots of one of the biggest, most influential and most successful managers in the history of football. So when the club announced that they would appoint David Moyes on a six-year deal, it’s fair to say certain people were left slightly underwhelmed.
However, the decision to appoint the mild-mannered Scot to replace Sir Alex Ferguson is a decision that made sense on so many levels. United are a well-run club, arguably one of the most well-run clubs in England behind only Arsenal.
Unlike certain European bigwigs, their bosses prefer if there is some level of stability at the helm of the club. It’s all well and good to be linked to some of the biggest managers in world football, but will they look to stick around for very long? One can never tell, but the probability of it is slightly unlikely.
Despite certain criticisms that can be levelled at him (negative style of football, old-fashioned ideas etc.) one cannot doubt the fact that David Moyes is, at the end of the day, a very good manager. His trophy cabinet may be empty, but he made Everton punch above their weight for many years, and he did it on a limited budget.
While making the transition from a team like Everton (who never really competed for trophies) to a team like Manchester United (who compete for trophies every season) will take some time, the fact that United have given him a six-year contract indicates that they are willing to be patient with the Scot.
It’s safe to say that United have found the right man in terms of stability. However, what tactical nous does he bring to the table?
When he was at Everton, Moyes employed a style of football that could be termed slightly pragmatic. He always put safety first, preferring not to concede too many goals instead of going out there and beating an opponent resoundingly. As a result, Everton were slightly hard to break down at times.
The fact that Moyes used negative tactics at Everton was one reason why many thought he didn’t deserve the United job. Historically, United have always been an attacking side; even though Sir Alex always ensured that his sides were solid in defence, the emphasis always lay on attack. United were never a side who simply played to win; they played to entertain. Could the pragmatic Moyes replicate that?
While there’s always a chance that he might struggle to get the team playing in an attacking manner to begin with, the fact of the matter is that United possess a squad full of players who like to attack. In stark contrast, his Everton squad never possessed the type of talent that United currently have. Moyes had to work within certain limitations while he was at Everton. However, now that he’s at United, those limitations don’t exist. He has a decent transfer budget to work with and a squad that already has many talented players.
It’s safe to say United have one of the best, if not the best, British managers at the helm of their side. He might not be as charismatic as Mourinho or even his predecessor Sir Alex Ferguson, but he is more than capable of holding his own against the so-called big-name managers. It wouldn’t be unfair of United fans to expect many more years of stability and continued success along with attractive football from their new manager, because he is capable of delivering all this and so much more.
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