The pressure is piling up on Manchester United manager David Moyes who, it seems, is increasingly unlikely to be in charge of the Red Devils next season.
The Manchester United hierarchy handed Moyes a six-year contract last summer after being instructed by the iconic Sir Alex Ferguson that the Everton boss was not only the perfect candidate but the only candidate for the job. However, less than 12 months down the line and it’s clear that the Glazer family were mad to listen solely to Ferguson’s biased advice, rather than carry out their own thorough recruitment process.
While the 72-year-old might be the greatest football manager of all time, he has never worked in recruitment, and his lack of experience and knowhow in that particular area has cost the Red Devils dear this season. For all of his fine work at Everton, there was never any guarantee that Moyes could flourish at the controls of England’s biggest football club. And his failure has been nothing short of spectacular.
It all started when Moyes took the bold decision to replace Manchester United’s back-room staff with his own. At most clubs that would, of course, be fine. However, Moyes was replacing some of the world’s finest coaches for his own group, including Phil Neville and Ryan Giggs, neither of whom possessed any previous coaching experience but were appointed on the basis that they had been part of the furniture at Old Trafford.
That was followed by a remarkably hapless first transfer window, which resulted in Moyes paying well over the odds for Marouane Fellaini - an uninspiring signing considering the club had been linked with the likes of Barcelona’s Cesc Fabregas and Tottenham’s Gareth Bale that summer. Note that the poor results and even worse performances had already started by this point.
Despite watching his side fail to dominate in matches against not just the Premier League’s big boys, but the small boys too, Moyes failed to sign a top-class central midfielder in January - even though the team was crying out for one. Instead, he - again - paid well over the odds on a player he didn’t particularly need. This time it was Juan Mata, who cost the Red Devils a club-record £37.1m to sign from Chelsea.
Unsurprisingly, Moyes has failed to get anything out of Mata in his first two months at the club. The Spaniard has looked a shadow of his former self, having been deployed in wide areas for most of his early appearances.
The beleaguered Scot has also failed to get the best out of Robin van Persie, Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young, Michael Carrick, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Rafael… the list goes on and, well, you get the picture.
It’s abundantly clear at this stage that the players simply aren’t being motivated under Moyes, who has been described in the past as not being “a big talker” during his nine-year spell with Everton. Communication is crucial in modern-day football, particularly at the highest level, where the margin between success and failure is at its finest.
If the Manchester United players aren’t receiving clear instructions or feedback then this will not only lead to more poor performances, but it’ll also lead to frustration amongst a group of players who are used to working under one of the best managers and man-motivators of all time.
Every time Manchester United supporters confidentially state that this season couldn’t possibly get any worse it inevitably does. Sunday’s 3-0 home defeat to Liverpool was the nadir of Moyes’s Old Trafford tenure so far; however, between now and next Tuesday he must face Olympiakos in a crucial Champions League last 16 second leg, a difficult fixture away to West Ham at Upton Park, and the Manchester derby. Things could yet get worse. Much worse.
If Liverpool can score three goals without reply, just imagine what Sergio Aguero and co. will end up doing next week. United were famously beaten 6-1 by City in October 2011 - but, at this rate, Moyes will simply be praying that City don’t go into double figures this time around.
The current Manchester United boss is out of his depth - just as his predecessor was when it came to selecting his eventual successor.