Moyes needs to be given a fair crack if he is to succeed at United

2014-01-11 00:00

MANCHESTER United have lost three competitive matches in a row for the first time in 13 years, and manager David Moyes’s credentials are now being heavily scrutinised.

He was backed by all and sundry when taking over from Sir Alex Ferguson, with the former gaffer instructing the club’s fan base to “support your new manager”. And they have done, but there are a now some concerned Red Devil supporters who have seen their footballing empire crumble around them in the space of half a season since the ex-Everton boss took charge.

Facebook has been abuzz with Moyes jokes, my favourite unquestionably, “United were once the Goliath of English football … then along came David.”

It was always going to be football’s impossible task. How do you replace a man who has dominated the English game for over two decades and won all there is to win?

Well, you can’t. Not immediately, any­way.

If Moyes is to succeed at United, he will need to be given a fair crack. What is most concerning is that the Scotsman doesn’t seem too keen on stamping his own footprint on the club just yet.

He has the same group of players that Ferguson had, and while he has acknowledged that United will need to venture into the transfer market this month, he seems unsure of who to go after. Moyes’s only purchase remains Marouane Fellaini, who has had a forgettable start to his Old Trafford career. That is not to say that the big-haired central midfielder won’t come good at some stage, but at the moment his £27,5 million (R486,7 million) price tag seems ludicrous.

United’s hopes of winning the Premier League this year are over, and that is okay. That was always going to be a big ask for Moyes in his first season. But what cannot be tolerated is United failing to finish in the top four. Losing their Champions League status would be, given the recent history of the club, unthinkable. If that does happen, then it might be time to consider bringing in a new manager. But not before.

Another thing that would give Moyes a much-needed reprieve is a trophy — any trophy. Out of the FA Cup and a mile off the pace in the Premier League, United have the Champions League and League Cup trophies left to fight for. And with the Champions League ambition probably a little unrealistic this year, United’s second leg League Cup semi-final against Sunderland becomes all the more important. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Moyes play a full strength side that night.

Of course, the manager would take a top four finish over a League Cup title every time. But in United’s most difficult season in what seems like forever, a little joy and a taste of victory would go a long way towards bringing back that familiar feeling. It’s funny how the wheel turns. A trophy that many United fans wouldn’t have batted an eyelid at before all of a sudden looks a whole lot more attractive.

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