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The Most Worrying Signs for Manchester United

These are some worrying times for Manchester United fans, the likes of which, some of the younger ones won’t have seen the likes before. Cold hard facts tell us that Manchester United have suffered 3 defeats this calendar year. The date is January 10th, 2014.


In comparison to the majority of the league, Manchester United are a team comprised of supremely talented players. Whilst some of them have been inconsistent of late, it can easily be argued that due to the current air of gloom and a lack of the famed winning mentality of the Sir Alex Ferguson era of late that this team isn’t up to par.

While it is increasingly mainstream and in many cases overly-simplistic to merely point the finger at David Moyes, I unfortunately have to join the crowd in doing exactly that. However, it is not for the usual reasons of player selection or team shape but instead it is his sides mentality, motivation, responsibility and accountability – all things which start from the leader. Now David Moyes may be doing a decent job of leading his troops while they are on their own, away from the harsh media glare, but he hasn’t shown any signs of it whilst being in the public eye. Below are a series of statements made by the United coach during their recent struggles:

After the Red Devils’ home defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, a frustrated Moyes declared that his team played well and should have had a penalty and a sending off. Ashley Young (who is of course, a credible player with integrity who would NEVER dive…) was denied an apparent “stonewall penalty”, according to Moyes. He proceeded to call it “scandalous”, calling the decision “one of the worst” he had ever seen.

In his post-game interview after the Sunderland match, Moyes hit a new level of frustration when he declared that, “We are playing the opposition as well as the referees…We are laughing at the decisions”. This was his way of saying that the referees are against his team. Ryan Giggs also scored an own goal from a Sunderland free-kick, which Moyes explained, “We defended a terrible free-kick, but how the referee had given the free-kick for that is beyond me. I cannot see how that is a free-kick”.

In the space of three days, Moyes has made all these comments and while passion and frustration can sometimes take over in a post-game interview, coaches are paid to make reasoned statements that will explain the situation whilst also sending a positive message to his team, his Board and the club’s supporters. While a lot of United fans will happily say ,”You tell ’em Moyes”, these sorts of outburst are detrimental to the team and do not put either Moyes himself or one of the grandest clubs in the land in the best of light.

Manchester United are the defending champions of the Premier League. Champions don’t chalk up losses to external situations, however difficult they may be to stomach at the time. These comments send a message to the team that says, “Hey, its not your fault, you’re doing perfecty fine. It’s all the referees fault”. That is not the mindset of an elite team. This team needs to be intrinsically motivated, and show that they are champions and play to their level, because as of now, they seem like a bunch of children crying over spilt milk.

Sub-par players such as Nani and Ashley Young as well as the under-used and occasionally under-performing Shinji Kagawa are all being kept out of the starting line-up by a teenager, Adnan Januzaj, who it would appear the whole team are currently over-reliant on for any kind of attacking quality. The rest of the squad need to look themselves in the mirror and realize that they are not providing this team with what it needs to win. They need to take it upon themselves and come out with passion and vigour. They need to fight like champions and rediscover their form before it is too late for the season to be salvaged.

After the Tottenham match, Moyes was quoted as saying, “There is urgency that we would like to bring players in but are those players available in January? There is no point hyping it up…” This further reinforces what I have been saying. The message a quote such as that sends is that there is a realisation and an urgency to do business and add to the squad, but are those saviours coming in during the January transfer window or not? This team needs to get it together collectively, and the individuals in the dressing room need to do that themselves too.

The most worrying aspect is that the mindset of the players may not be what it needs to be and whilst many fans up and down the land will be getting a kick out of United’s awful current form, I find myself growing tiresome of Moyes’ awful display during interviews. He isn’t Sir Alex Ferguson, so he shouldn’t try to be him. He cannot complain endlessly and get away with it. He doesn’t have that sort of intimidation and control over his team yet, let alone the media that surrounds it. What Moyes can be, is a great coach who could achieve that level of success in time, by doing things his own way. He also needs to pin the responsibility on his players and send the message that they simply need to start performing like they know they can.


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