Football

Manchester United's struggles following Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement

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On 8 May 2013, Manchester United's legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson announced his decision to step down after an illustrious, trophy-laden career leading to 13 Premier League titles, five FA cups and four League cups.

In addition to the club's domestic success, Fergie took Manchester United back to the pinnacle of European football, winning the Champions League in 1999 and 2008. There was always going to be a huge upheaval following the Scot's departure, but who could have foreseen the direction his beloved Manchester United would have veered in his absence?

Sir Alex left Old Trafford with the resonating message to get behind the new manager. It's fair to say that the majority of the fans have remained faithful to that message. However, it has been a difficult year for even the most fervent Moyes advocate. The Red Devils ended the 2012/13 season 11 points clear of main rivals Manchester City and a superior goal difference of 43 compared to City's 32.

With the arrival of Wilfried Zaha, the emergence of prospect Adnan Januzaj and the summer addition of Marouane Fellaini, not many would have believed that United would be out of both domestic cup competitions by the end of January and dwindling in sixth place in the Premier League in mid March. If someone were to say at the start of the season that United would add Juan Mata in January and reveal the success of Januzaj in claiming a regular starting berth, it would be hard to fathom how United have failed to live up to last season's success.

Perhaps the Champions' plummet and Moyes' struggles can be based on the injuries suffered by star forwards Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, or perhaps the slip in form of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand. Maybe, the failure to sign a midfielder of top quality such as Cesc Fabregas or Ander Herrera was key to United's failures this season.

Moyes has had some success in a huge transition for a club of United's stature. He has persuaded Wayne Rooney to sign a new deal, which was something many would not have believed following various reports in the summer that he was ready to depart.

The United manager can also take some faith from the way he has integrated and developed young Adnan Januzaj into the first team. Youth development is a key initiative at Old Trafford and Januzaj has been one of United's stand-out performers this season.

Additionally, Moyes finally produced the marquee signing that United craved last summer, with the capture of Juan Mata. The Spaniard has added some top-class creative ability to the United squad.

Perhaps these positives are the proverbial clutching at straws in what can not be dressed up as anything but a dire season by Manchester United's elevated standards. Many fans are already looking towards next season in the hope that this year was nothing more than a minor blip for a club in transition.

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Topics:
Manchester United
Football
Premier League

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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