We’re only 11 games into David Moyes’ tenure at Real Sociedad and already the noises coming out of Spain are that the team from San Sebastian made a grave error of judgement.
And to think that it all started off so well. Barcelona arrived at the Anoeta looking to overturn a wretched recent record at the stadium. Call it “new manager bounce” or whatever you choose, but Barca were put to the sword in one of the greatest nights of Moyes' career.
Only a Jordi Alba own-goal separated the sides but the win was much more comprehensive than the scoreline suggests. Moyes was off and running in the best possible manner and all was rosy in the Basque garden.
Within 10 days however, the Scot was already making excuses.
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Fun of crisp snub seems a long time ago
Dumped out of the Copa del Rey by Villarreal and sent to the stands, the highlight of the night for the manager was enjoying the company, and crisps, of the loyal support who were, at that stage, still behind “Mister” Moyes.
It would be another 10 days before Sociedad’s next win against local rivals Eibar, a team that had defeated them on the opening day of the season.
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When Aritz Elisondo struck in the first minute at the Santiago Bernabeu, Twitter was awash with comment that, perhaps, Moyes was suited to life in La Liga. Of course, in the space of the other 89 minutes, Real Madrid promptly set about dismantling that notion and Moyes was back to square one.
In reality, no one could honestly have envisaged the visitors staging a smash and grab at the home of Los Blancos.
What the locals might’ve hoped for however is an upgrade in general performance with winnable games against Celta Vigo and Almeria in their next two fixtures. What they received was two more under-par showings and just two points to show for their endeavours.
Moyes’ evident lack of the grasp of the Spanish language would give a comedic tone to each press conference, but the ex-Man Utd man’s situation was a lot more serious.
Only three wins since taking charge
In the nick of time, an epic 4-3 home win against Sevilla stopped the rot, and the questions. But a leopard doesn’t change it spots and this past weekend, Valencia were the latest opponents to leave Moyes’ men well beaten.
11 games played in all competitions and only three victories.
Although those nine points have seen Sociedad up to 11th, the position is ever so slightly misleading. Only 5 points separate them from third bottom with some difficult matches approaching.
Moyes still has to visit the Vicente Calderon and Camp Nou as well as the New San Mames and La Rosaleda. Aswell as hosting Villarreal.
Not good enough
It’s nowhere near good enough for a manager that was seen as the most suitable candidate for the position over and above Pepe Mel, a manager with a studious knowledge of La Liga.
Indeed, aside from the odd flash here and there, Moyes’ charges haven’t really responded to his methods in the way he would like, with quality lacking and cohesion missing.
There are definite echoes of his time at Old Trafford and his managerial credibility has certainly not been enhanced in the Basque country.
Arguably if any improvement was going to be made by Moyes we would have seen it over the course of his first two months.
President Jokin Aperribay will be looking at the table in hope rather than expectation in the final weeks of the campaign.