So after the defeat to West Brom, David Moyes clearly felt that he was no longer able to use the excuse that the start to the season had been difficult. In terms of fixtures that is. It has also been difficult in terms of getting players to join the club. Difficult in terms of getting points. Difficult all round really.
Anyway, now that the ‘hard fixtures’ excuse is out of the window, Moyes has moved on to another tried and tested cliché. He has claimed that the club are devoid of world class stars. Quite what Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney think of that remains to be seen. That aside, the side are not markedly different from last season, when they won their 20th Premier League title.
This of course means one of two things. Either Moyes is just looking for excuses when really it is he who is the problem, or Alex Ferguson was really so good that he managed to cover up the numerous flaws that have appeared since he retired.
In reality, it seems to be a combination of the two. There is no doubt that losing a manager of the calibre of Fergie is massive. His presence on the touchline, his charisma, Fergie time – the list goes on.
Fergie has managed to make what is an average Manchester United side look like Champions. Fans of the club will tell you that they have been worried for some time about the squad – especially when it comes to their midfield.
Last season, having to bring Paul Scholes back into the side after he retired should have rung some very serious alarm bells. As it was, the club just plodded along. There may well be fingers pointed at the money spent by clubs like Manchester City and Chelsea – even Arsenal came out of the transfer window happier. That is all well and good – but anyone who thinks that United would not have spent just as much, if not more, had the opportunity arisen is deluded.
The club made bids for Sami Khedira, Ander Herrera and Thiago Acantara to name but three. They also tried to approach a host of other names. The fact that Arsenal managed to get Mesut Ozil when he is exactly the player United were crying out for is also a worrying fact.
There were even whispers that they were the other club in the race for Gareth Bale – and were willing to offer more than Real Madrid. So do players not want to go to Old Trafford? Perhaps the loss of Fergie and his status is the issue. Moyes is not as bigger draw that is for sure. The board and Ed Woodward have also shown their naivety. David Gill is a massive miss make no mistake about that.
Marouane Fellaini may have come in and will improve the midfield, but he alone is not good enough to change an entire team. Unlike Mesut Ozil.
As it is, United are languishing 9th in the table, looking more likely to push for the Europa League than the title. They have to improve, there is no choice. Losing to West Brom and labouring past Sunderland – being grateful for the three points- shows exactly how far the club have fallen. A twenty first league title looks about as close as Sepp Blatter does to being blunder free.
For Moyes to blame the poor start on his players may not be the best way to win dressing room favour that is for sure. There may be much room for improvement by the players, but the same can be said for the manager and his backroom staff – if not more so. One look at how well Roberto Martinez is doing at Everton can tell you that.
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