While Sunday's rather emphatic 3-0 victory over Aston Villa provided a welcome period of respite for the under fire boss, it would certainly not be an exaggeration to suggest that the past week had represented one of the most testing of David Moyes' managerial career.
After his ailing Manchester United side suffered consecutive losses in the Premier League, the former Everton favourite was dealt a potentially savage double blow concerning Dutch maestro Robin van Persie.
As if Friday's reports that the prolific striker is set for four weeks on the sidelines with a thigh injury sustained while taking a corner during last week's narrow Champions League victory over Shakhtar Donetsk at Old Trafford were not bad enough, reports on Saturday suggested that the 30-year-old was considering his future at the club after apparently becoming unhappy with Moyes' training methods.
Now, while I might be stating the obvious somewhat here, if this was indeed true then it is nothing short of disastrous for Manchester United and their hopes of defying the lowly expectations that currently engulf the reigning Premier League champions following such a markedly poor start to the new campaign.
A new manager is, more often than not, going to bring in a different style of playing and a different philosophy of coaching and indeed some players can evidently feel reinvigorated by such a fresh approach.
However, if this is not the case with Van Persie, and such aforementioned reports would suggest that it isn't, then Moyes must, on this occasion, at least, bend slightly under the pressures of player power and make allowances for his star striker.
Now, while I am certainly not normally an advocate of player dictating a manager's methods and ways of working, in this instance it simply must happen due to the sheer importance of the player in question.
During an undeniably rocky and transitional period at Old Trafford, Manchester United and Moyes in particular desperately need to cultivate a sense of togetherness and unity among the ranks and not risk alienating a player of such quality.
With the club's form becoming increasingly inconsistent, it is unlikely that United will be able to attract players of a similar stature in the near future. While no player is bigger than the club, Van Persie's presence is just too important to lose at such a critical juncture.
Manchester United must not risk losing him for the sake of Moyes' pride - particularly not with European giants such as Barcelona linked with a £37 million bid for the striker's signature.
The two of them should endeavour to find a solution that keeps disruption to a minimum and does not risk the club's short-term ambitions or indeed the morale among the fanbase.
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