"… and then Moyes said they’d still be able to sign world class stars!"
For one brief moment it looked like it was on. A thunderbastard of a strike from the unlikely source of Patrice Evra, almost lifted the posts out of the Manuel Neuer’s net. Glory be!
But the fragility that’s been ever-present within this Manchester United side this season became the sides undoing. One minute later and it’s 1-1. The tight unit that Moyes sent the boys out in was broken like a jigsaw puzzle against the left and right flank hurricanes of Bayern’s Ribery and Robben. The rest is history.
Bar a miracle that leads to Manchester United snatching fourth place in the Premier League, the Reds are out of the Big Cup for at least one year. The post-mortem of a season that has been nothing short of a shambles for David Moyes’ side is in full effect and some huge decisions need to be made.
First and foremost, is David Moyes the right man to lead Manchester United back into the big time? Doubtful. Staunch supporters of the ex-Everton boss point to the fact that he’s been left a poor squad and needs time to rebuild. Heck, he even said Fergie would struggle with this lot. But on a very basic level, it’s hard to argue this case based on current evidence.
Exhibit A: Moyes can’t handle big names
There’s no doubt Wayne wanted to play last night. He thrives on the big games and he’s arguably been our best player this season. But he cut the figure of a player who was worried about his foot injury. Scuffed chances here and there that he’d usually blast toward goal proved he should never have been out there.
Those travelling fans could see it. Those watching on TV too. So why did Moyes not haul him off and play Hernandez instead? Moyes even said Rooney was struggling, so why risk him? Simple, Moyes is afraid to stamp his authority on key players.
It happened with van Persie against Newcastle United. In hindsight, Moyes said that the crowd would’ve asked what he was doing if he’d brought RvP off.
Player power seems to be ruling inside Old Trafford and Moyes appears to be unable to right it.
Exhibit B: Moyes doesn’t know what he’s doing
This isn’t just a broad brush statement. There hasn’t been any fluidity to United’s play nearly all season, but as soon as van Persie is out injured Moyes has to play Mata at his preferred #10 spot behind Rooney and Kagawa is drafted in, and look how they’ve flourished.
This isn’t a news to anyone with a set of eyes or who has watched Chelsea play over the last few seasons and seen the little Spaniard tear up defences with his skill, eye for a pass and general positioning.
Moyes sees these players every week and despite his preference to send out a team to simply not lose, the Kagawa-Rooney-Mata triumvirate has thrown caution to the wind and gone for it regardless.
The ‘luck’ of having van Persie out injured hides the fact that Moyes has been stifling this flow just to keep the big boys happy (see Exhibit A for a refresh).
We fully expect the Manchester United PR department to salt rumour columns with tastier stories for sports journalists. Immediately after the game, Moyes said that ‘the players they’d had whispers in the ears of, weren’t put off by no Champions League next season’. Surely this is ‘tapping up’ players, mind.
Until those players are picture in a United shirt they we won’t believe a thing. Though the question remains as to whether those leeches in charge of the club’s coffers will hand down the cash necessary for Moyes to rebuild. Or will it be another manager who will be installed in the summer to fix this mess?
This blog is becoming a tiring diary of David Moyes bad days, but it’s not without foundation. You can’t find the positives if they’re not there in the first place. And sadly, as time is showing us, the man in the hot seat at Manchester United simply can’t handle the heat of the high expectations.