David Moyes has to be sacked by Manchester United now

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David Moyes seems to be a decent chap, totally committed to making Manchester United great again and not a bad coach. But it is now clear he is way out of his depth at Old Trafford.

"It's difficult to explain it...we're going to have to make ourselves harder to beat...being Manchester United manager is harder than I ever imagined..." were just some of the quotes from a manager who once again looks and sounds like he hasn't a clue.

Without any malice and with genuine best wishes for his future, it is time for him to go. He will do very well as the next manager of Newcastle United.

No doubt once again the loyalists and the long-termists will be out saying he should be given more time; applauding the fact that United don't sack their managers after a few games.

We wrote after the Olympiakos first leg that "David Moyes is destroying Manchester United." Of course this is neither intentional nor through neglect. But the signs were very clear after that match. Even a miraculous escape on Wednesday won't paper over the cracks.

Because all that will happen is that City will march in on 25 March and inflict another humiliating defeat.

So how far does it go before the United Board decide 'enough is enough'? 

United apparently lost 450,000 fans on Facebook immediately after the Liverpool drubbing. The share price has lost billions of dollars. The debate over Moyes is tearing diehard supporters down the middle.

And the most telling and humiliating judgement on Moyes' tenure at the helm is this:

Last season, without Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini, United beat Liverpool 2-1. From this time last season United are 43, yes forty three points worse off in relation to Liverpool!

And what's the big difference? Apart from Aly Cissokho (who didn't play on Sunday), and the players mentioned above, the big difference is Moyes.

Sorry but the excuses won't do

There is no longer any reason that can be put forward to retain Moyes as manager. Why wait until Wednesday? What more will we know?

United's performance in the first leg against Olympiakos was abject. The players got it in the neck from all and sundry. In its own way it was worse on Sunday.

Everybody, from sportswriter and pundit to United and impartial football fans, is asking the same questions that David Moyes is.

Well, Mr Moyes, just look in the mirror and do the honourable thing.

There has been astonishing support for Moyes. Even now there will be respected journalists arguing that he needs time to build his own team. That and regular weekly comments are all implying the same thing: it's the players.

"This is an ageing squad." But one of the premises on which Moyes was hired was bringing on young players.

He has given Januzaj his chance, but Jesse Lingard, Wilf Zaha, Nick Powell, Michael Keane, Marnick Vermijl, Will Keane and Angelo Henriquez are all out on loan until the end of the season. Which means they won't even get a chance if United have nothing left to play for.

Even Kevin Sheedy, the youth coach at Everton, has said Moyes didn't watch the youth players there.

The main excuse for keeping Moyes is that "we don't do things like that at United." He should be given a chance to turn things round. He inherited a squad and needs a summer transfer window to rebuild it.


There are people in the Old Trafford Board room who know far more about football than I ever will, but surely the facts are staring them in the face? Yes the squad is ageing, but this is the same team that won the Premier League plus £80 million of talent (including the luckless Zaha).

For much of the early part of the season Moyes made that point himself. Fortunately for him he has stopped. Why? Because it asks an obvious question of the manager. Why can't he deliver a performance?

It is an affront to keep accusing the players. Is anyone suggesting they aren't trying?

The players don't seem to have a clue

But that's not their fault. Just take Sunday's statistics from EPL index. Taking an overall view, United were more or less on a par with Liverpool:

Possession 49/55%

Pass accuracy 83/84%

Shots 12/14 (of which United had 11 inside the box to Liverpool's six)

Duels won 66/71

Successful interceptions/tackles/clearances 56/63

So OK Liverpool edge some of those statistics but for anyone watching they were light years ahead of United on the day. 6-0 would not have been a flattering score.

United were slower in passing and moving, lost the ball more and, worst of all, had only one shot on goal. That is on a par with the abject performance against Olympiakos.

Does anyone think United had a lot of bad luck? No.

Does anyone think the players weren't trying? Of course not, but frankly they never looked like scoring and more to the point they looked like they hadn't a clue what to do.

This was a sorry echo of the Olympiakos match and augurs worryingly for Wednesday.

I was at the match on Sunday. Not for the first time this season I couldn't see how United were going to score; and given that virtually every time they concede first they lose, that is deeply concerning.

To the lover of football it was plain to see: Liverpool played flowing, effortless, purposeful football at pace and with precision.

United played 'football by numbers'. It was slow, methodical, mechanical, ponderous and painful on the eye. It was nothing like the flair football for which my team of 57 years were renowned.

In conclusion, the players are clearly over-coached and over-trained to the point where, with the exception of a joyous 30 minutes against West Brom, they have lost all spontaneity.

It is deeply distressing to see. Juan Mata is a great player; he was Chelsea's player of the year two years running. Last season the partnership between Rooney and Van Persie was one of the best in the world. Now they don't even pass to each other.

Van Persie was the 'invisible man' on Sunday; Patrice Evra was 'absent without leave' for almost every single Liverpool attack that came down his side of the pitch; and that was a lot.

There is no credible reason why Moyes should stay

"He needs more time."

What for? United are sliding down the league and they are getting worse, not better. He keeps saying "we'll keep working until we get it right." The harder they work the worse they get.

"Fergie was given six years."

Sir Alex inherited a poor squad with a drinking culture and several players better suited to the division below. Moyes inherited a team that ran away with the Premier League.

"We don't sack managers at United."

What about Wilf McGuinness? He was out of his depth following Sir Matt Busby. How damaging financially, commercially and, most important, spiritually for the fans does it have to get before Fergie admits he got it wrong.

And why did he appoint Moyes in the first place? Because he is Scottish? A developer of youth (see above)? A hard and determined man? Or is he so stubborn that he is actually making things worse?

"He needs to build his own squad."

Based on what we've seen so far, should he really be entrusted with spending up to $200 million this summer? Will the players actually want to come to a team in free-fall?

What happens if he manages to buy world class players and it still doesn't work? How long should he be given next season? Ten games? Till Christmas? And what happens if next season goes down the tube as well?

Anyone can see, surely, that he is a coaching dinosaur. He has had 49 matches to assess the players and put his own stamp on the team. And yet United have only won one single match against any team in the top nine in the Premier League.

They have lost nine matches this season which equals their worst ever tally, with nine games to go.

But the harsh fact is that performances are getting worse and worse. The players look lost and broken. Rooney was frankly awful on Sunday, as were many of his contemporaries. It was 'men and boys'.

A Liverpool team including just two world class players (Gerrard and Suarez) looked brimming with confidence, despite fielding the distinctly average Henderson, Flanagan and Allen.

Meanwhile a team which cost almost £200 million and included at least five world class players (DeGea, Vidic, Mata, Rooney and Van Persie) huffed and puffed and looked like they had no idea what to do.

So what should happen?

Based on Sunday's showing, Manchester City will destroy United next week. There can surely be little hope of overcoming Olympiakos unless they freeze on the night and self-destruct.

As Rene Meulenstein pointed out after the Fulham match, United are easy to play against. They are predictable and they are using tactics with which even Everton would struggle.

People keep saying that Everton's relative success was built on making them hard to beat. Not only is that not the Manchester United way (we go out to win every match), but actually United have become worryingly easy to beat.

In season 2010/11 United won 18 home games; in 2011/12 United they won 15; and in 2012/13 they won 16. So far this season they have only won six.

Moyes brought a team of coaches to Old Trafford: Phil Neville had never coached before; Jimmy Lumsden is a trainer; Steve Round appears to be a technical skills coach; and Moyes takes the first team coaching himself.

Frankly on Sunday United looked like none of these coaches had any effect except that they played like horses that had been flogged to death in the paddock. Technically they were inferior to every Liverpool player on first touch, passing, everything.

And as for tactically, Rodgers completely outthought Moyes with a 4-1-2-1-2 diamond that dominated midfield and ran the game. Moyes appeared unable to react and the players seemed as if they had been bamboozled all week on the tactical 'white board'.

Sir Alex Ferguson never got his coaching badges but what we need right now until the end of the season is the return of the greatest manager ever with Meulenstein by his side.

So why not wait until after Wednesday?

If United fluke a win that will not stop City coming and doing the same as Liverpool; it will only defer the inevitable.

There are potentially a maximum of 15 matches left in United's season (in the wildly unrealsitic event that they reach the Champions League Final), but probably actually only ten.

Either Ferguson (or Guus Hiddink or Jupp Heynckes) could stop the rot; get United playing with flair and freedom again; restore player confidence; and set a better tone for next season.

Then, a 'dream team' of Hiddink or Van Gaal and De Boer; or Klopp and Gary Neville, ideally with Meulenstein reinstalled, would attract the world class players United need and set about making them the greatest team in the world, with 2013/14 just a blip in history.

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