Despite Manchester United’s 2-0 win over Swansea, David Moyes is still taking the brunt of fans’ frustration. The roots of this season’s horror show, however, can be traced back to before the former Everton manager’s arrival.

Not only do the champions sit seventh in the Premier League, their New Year's nightmare has coincided with defeats in both domestic cups to Swansea and Sunderland. Moyes was said to be dismayed upon his arrival at Old Trafford as they missed out on Alvaro Negredo to bitter rivals Manchester City.

Meanwhile, the Red Devils have struggled to replace the retired Paul Scholes, while Ryan Giggs increasingly shows his age. United have been accused of over-reliance on the young shoulders of Adnan Januzaj, and as allegations fly amidst a turbulent period for the club, it has even been claimed that Sir Alex got out before it was too late.

Ferguson’s ‘right to hover’ has also been called into question, as it undoubtedly adds to the pressure on Moyes. In the same way that Sir Matt Busby was reluctant to relinquish the reins when he swapped the hot seat for the directors’ box in 1969, Fergie’s presence has served to overshadow the transitions Moyes is trying to make. 

Tommy Docherty, who was at the helm between 1972 and 1977, believes Moyes has been left “high and dry” by his predecessor. Indeed, Moyes’ battles are not over as his side desperately attempt to secure to a top-four finish, while the end of the season (on the assumption he will still be in charge) will bring fresh contract negotiations with Nemanja Vidic.

If Moyes has been left with a squad past their sell-by-date, there is little that will be realistically achieved until at least the summer, by which time, with the title already slipping out of their grasp, the damage may already have been done.

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