So many times this season we have heard the phrase “it can’t get much worse for United than this”. Well on Sunday afternoon it really was the lowest of the low for the Premier League champions after they were hammered 3-0 on their own turf by fierce rivals Liverpool.
The loss to bitter rivals Liverpool at home means they now face a near impossible task of securing the fourth and final Champions League spot. It really has been a torrid season for the Red Devils.
Many United fans have been sympathetic towards Moyes, realising the fact that the squad is not what it used to be and accepting that it’s a transitional period at the club. But, for me, it’s time they stop making excuses for him.
He has spent a lot of money on two players in Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata. The former has not done anything so far in his United career to justify his £27.5million price tag and the fans are now running out of patience. Moyes insists on playing the Belgian in a deep-lying midfield role alongside Michael Carrick despite the fact he was so influential playing as a second striker under the Scotsman at Everton.
The Juan Mata signing in January for £37million was supposed to revitalise their midfield and attack but that hasn’t been the case. It seems as if Moyes doesn’t know where to play Mata and on Sunday we saw him on the right wing where he was totally anonymous. There is the debate as to whether Mata was the right player United needed in January, and on this season’s evidence then the answer would be ‘no’. Moyes has a selection dilemma on his hands as to where Mata should be used. It’s a task he signed up for though, as he brought the Spaniard in.
It has been made clear by everyone that a new central midfielder and centre half is needed, so why didn’t Moyes address those areas in January? It’s all well and good going out and buying them in the summer but who will want to join a side who won’t be participating in the Champions League next season?
Tactically, Moyes has all come under some scrutiny, and understandably so. The most puzzling moment from Moyes on Sunday was his substitutions. With his side two nil down and having nothing to lose he decided to bring on Cleverley for Fellani; is this really a change that will inspire the side to get a goal back? And then, to top it all off, with five minutes to go he brought central defender Rio Ferdinand on for record creative signing Juan Mata. Under Sir Alex Ferguson United always forgot about the game plan for the last ten minutes if they needed goals and just went for it. Why didn’t Moyes do the same?
The players are obviously under performing – a factor that has saved Moyes from receiving all the flak for United’s poor form. But how come Fergie could get the best out of the same squad? If Moyes can’t inspire his players to raise their game then he isn’t the right man for the job.
It does seem that the former Everton boss is out of his depth at Old Trafford and this season has gone from one disaster to another for him. He has two of his biggest games coming up with his side looking to overturn a 2-0 deficit in the Champions League against Olympiakos on Wednesday and then facing Manchester City in the Manchester derby a week later.
Win both games and Moyes will probably still be in charge at United next season. Defeat in both will see the pressure really mount on Moyes and an understandable sacking could be on the horizon. Watch this space.