It’s barely been a few weeks since David Moyes took over the vacant managerial helms at Manchester United.
The press has heavily scrutinized each and every move of the Scot, while some United fans have already started to place their doubts regarding his appointment in the wake of the Red Devils’ dismal pre-season performances.
What follows is the first part of an analysis of how Moyes has fared on various fronts since being unveiled as the manager of Manchester United on July 5.
It’s safe to say that Moyes has handled the pressure of the media admirably well.
He hasn’t blabbered like Jose Mourinho did in 2004. The 50-year-old has been direct, confident, respectful towards the club and has answered the questions of the journalists very carefully. Moyes hasn’t revealed any inside information and has not indicated any struggles within the club either.
When reports started to emerge of Thiago Alcantara ditching United for the pastures at the Allianz Arena, Moyes simply said that he was “happy” with United’s transfer plans. He also shed away the light from the club missing out on a promising talent by stating that he never said that United were in for Thiago.
Had Moyes earlier admitted United’s interest in Thiago, the Red Devils’ transfer policies and Moyes himself, could have come under heavy surveillance when the young Spaniard eventually transferred to Bayern Munich.
After missing out on Thiago, however, Moyes has become more vocal regarding United’s transfer pursuits.
He has publicly spoken about the bids for Cesc Fabregas, putting pressure on Barcelona and unsettling the player at The Nou Camp.
At the same time, this has also helped him to send out a message to the fans and United’s big-spending domestic rivals that the English champions are still competitive in the transfer window and are hunting top players.
A fortnight ago, some pictures emerged of Moyes losing his temper during a training session in Bangkok . When asked about the confrontation by the Daily Mail, instead of criticizing his players, Moyes told the newspaper: “I just wanted them (players) to make sure they kept doing things right and there were a couple of things I wanted them to make sure they were on top of.”
No public bashing of his troops, unlike what Roberto Mancini did during his tenure at the Etihad Stadium. Publicly criticizing a player can shatter his confidence and create an uneasy team atmosphere. Worse, it can also instigate a press argument between the player and the manager.
Moyes avoided that with sheer understated excellence.
Wayne Rooney Saga
Moyes has handled Wayne Rooney’s transfer saga equally well. He has spoken about how important Rooney is to the club and how he wants to get the best out of the player.
Thus, the 27-year-old has got an opportunity to make a fresh start under a new manager and forget his tussles with Sir Alex Ferguson. Rooney now can’t go ahead and say he was pushed out of the club or was subject to unfair treatment.
Even potential suitors like Chelsea will now need to make a very good offer to get the signature of Rooney.
Some of Moyes’ comments regarding Rooney have been exaggerated by the media vultures, like the ones in which he said that in case Robin van Persie gets injured, United will need the Englishman.
What the former Everton manager basically stated was: “I think he (Rooney) has got a major role to play because we need to try and get as many goals as we possibly can. I think Wayne can play up-top he can play dropped in. Overall my thought on Wayne is he’ll be key. If for any reason we had an injury to Robin, we are going to need him. I want to be able to play the two of them…”.
Never did Moyes even indicate that Rooney was a “back-up”. All he meant was that he intends to play both Rooney and Robin van Persie and if the latter is sidelined, the Englishman’s goal-scoring responsibilities will increase. That’s quite valid, considering Rooney was United’s second-highest goal-scorer last term and is one of the best players in England at finding the back of the net.
Moving on, when inquired about the contradicting claims of Ferguson and Rooney on the striker’s apparent transfer request, Moyes prevented a possible controversy for all involved by stating he wasn’t privy to the conversation the two had.
With Mourinho literally tapping-up Rooney, Moyes has still maintained his stance of not selling his prized asset and has refused to delve into the “Special One’s” futile mind games.
“If you’re from Glasgow you quite enjoy those kind of things, so bring it on,” said the former Preston North End gaffer.
Check out Part 2, in which we will analyze David Moyes’ tactics and utilization of players.
How do you think David Moyes has started at Manchester United?