When David Moyes walked off the Old Trafford turf following Manchester United’s 0-3 defeat to Liverpool something unexpected happened – the Stretford End rose to their feet applauding and singing as if their team had won the game.
The support shown towards Moyes by the United fans this season has been emphatic – mainly due to the words of former boss Sir Alex Ferguson at the end of last season: “Get behind your new manager”.
There was a sense on Sunday afternoon that the Stretford End was no longer applauding Moyes – they were making a statement to the players that they will stand by the club unconditionally. Indeed the fact that United fans sung so loudly embarrassed Moyes even more so then if they were to boo him.
With United now struggling to qualify for a Europa League position next season there is a mutual understanding among United fans that Moyes is not the man for the job. There is a belief that Moyes is tactically inept and has continued to play key players out of position despite the obvious warning signs.
Probably the most striking evidence of Moyes’s cluelessness was last Sunday. Despite being 0-2 down at home to Liverpool for most of the second half, the Scot failed to make a substitution until the 75th minute. It was as if Moyes was trying to embarrass the United players on the pitch as he sat pondering how it all went wrong.
Another worrying sign for United fans is the way Moyes has been talking to the media. He has been reluctant to give anything away about how he is handling the job and has consistently spoke in clichés – fans are fed up hearing “Manchester United will always be interested in the best players” when the club has only made one signature signing since Robin van Persie’s arrival from Arsenal in 2012.
Moyes has said from day one that he has belief in the players but the players have yet to give the fans any sense of belief.
If United are knocked out of the Champions League tomorrow night even the few who still believe Moyes will be a success will have to reconsider their thoughts. The former Everton boss will surely be given until the end of the season and still could turn opinions if the fans are given something to believe in.
Moyes' only saving grace rests on the outcome of the Red Devils' Champions League campaign and the small matter of the final Manchester derby of the season at Old Trafford. But if this downward spiral of negative results continues - the outcome is ominous for Moyes.
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