So, where did it all go wrong for Manchester United this season?

A great deal has been speculated as to when the downfall of this great club began. Most people will tell you that the U-turn of United begun when David Moyes took over the team in June 2013. Sadly though, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Cast your footballing minds back to 30th March 2010 where United are playing a champions league quarter final against Bayern Munich in the Allianz Arena. The Manchester club are on the verge of ending the first leg on top as the scores are 1-1. Also at this point United are comfortable at the top of the Premier League, life is going relatively splendid. But the next 15 seconds send Manchester United into an uncontrollable downward spiral that is what we are today. Firstly, Wayne Rooney lands painfully on his ankle and Ivica Olic hits an injury time winner. We never recover, and even though Rooney returns for the home leg he looks out of sorts and united crash out of Europe, this is followed by a loss at home to Chelsea and a draw against Blackburn. The title ends up going to Stamford Bridge and the next four years bring two trophies which quite frankly should be put down to the inability of other sides and managers to capitalise on United’s evident shortcomings and the managerial brilliance of Sir Alex Ferguson (plus the odd decent striker) question this you may, but the difference of the united team pre and post March 30th 2010 is actually overwhelming if you look back on it. Now it’s all being unveiled time after time, each occasion it happens the clubs credibility erodes further and further.

Tactically, it’s all been a bit crazy. Every game played this season has merited a different United side. The attempt to fill the irreplaceable gap that Scholes left was a panic buy from Moyes in the form or Marouanne Fellaini. United needed a central midfielder who can run, pass, tackle (really hard) and shoot so Carrick can hang back and dictate the pace of the game. Unfortunately, there has been no fitting replacement in this area. The lack of stability and aggression in the middle of the park has resulted in teams being able to get a clear run on our crooked and  back four. This didn’t happen with Scholes in the side, for even the world’s best would be merely kicked

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A lot has been rightly made of Moyes’s tactical decisions, people automatically just assume Moyes puts ‘CROSS’ on the whiteboard in the dressing room and says ‘Get on with it’ now although there is a pattern of truth in this it by no means tells the entire story. Moyes likes to play a fairly high line with attacking wing backs and wingers, sitting midfielders and a number 10 in behind the striker. Now when this clicks it really does click. Look back at the 0-5 win in Leverkusenand the 1-0 win over Arsenal and I genuinely believe we are witnessing Moyes’s tactics going to plan. Sadly though, this style of play hasn’t materialised due to fullbacks being useless in the oppositions half, the defensive line being further back to compensate for the lack of speed in the back, wingers who wouldn’t cross a bridge and the two best attacking players (Rooney and Van Persie) being persistently injured. Above all, the sheer nervousness and shell-shock within the team and the fans due to the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson has transpired in Manchester United being a passive and unthreatening. However, despite popular assumption, Manchester United have actually improved defensively under Moyes conceding 0.4 less goals a game and marginally fewer shots.

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The impending question throughout the summer, and even before that has always been how will United function as a football club when someone who has built a metaphorical dynasty and empire for over a quarter of a century departs? How hard will it be?

Well, the answer is severely. On the 12th of March 2013, Sir Alex told a giddy Old Trafford including myself to, ‘Stand by your new manager’ The moment he said that I begun to realise that the next season would be very different. Even though SAF claims he left David Moyes with, ‘the strongest squad possible’ its impeccably clear that the squad Moyes inherited was nowhere near a title winning side, or even a top 4 side for that matter. Sir Alex knew better than anybody that this side will suffer without his guidance. Especially when Moyes removed all the staff that worked with his predecessor.

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For a very long time now, I’d always seen Moyes as a natural successor to the club. A mentally strong, no nonsense cold faced Scot that specialises in longevity and discipline is the only way forward for this club. So appionting David Moyes on a 6 year contract shows that the club were choosing long term success over immediate short term. I believe that the likes of Mouriniho or Guardiola would have made a more positive immediate impact but for the long term they aren’t fitting solutions, for Manchester United is a club that only knows longevity.

Let me put something into perspective. In my opinion, not only is this the hardest job in football, but also the hardest job there is altogether. A position in the working world has so seldom been occupied and ran at such a high level for such a long time anywhere on the planet, that the job David Moyes has can’t actually be put into perspective. The creativity, knowledge and general presence his predecessor had will by no means continue in the same vane after the new man comes in. So to the people who harp on about how useless David Moyes is, just take into consideration that the shoes that must be filled at Manchester United are bigger than your little minds can comprehend.

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I must add, I don’t know whether David Moyes is the right man for the job. Nobody does. But I do know that he deserves a chance to impose his tactics and philosophy, and the only way he can do that is through having time. Some of our supporters need to acknowledge that you earn success through respecting the manager and players through thick and thin, you shouldn’t just expect it because its Manchester United.

What are your thoughts on Manchester United’s season thus far? Comment in the section below.

About Leo Nieboer 89 Articles
Mourning the loss of Danny Welbeck

23 Comments

  1. Hmmm, where to start, firstly Wellbeck ,Cleverly,Valencia, Young , Smalling,even Jones and Evans , are simply not UTD standard as for Phil Neville as first team coach , your joking. Should’ve kept Phelan and Rene . No 4th spot this season , so who would want to come , Reus , Kroos , don’t think so ,but I live in hope for next season as long as the Scousers or City don’t win the league

  2. Couldn’t disagree more. The man is utterly out if his depth. It started with his inability to make a decision last summer (how many years scouting did we need to buy a decent midfielder ala Matic etc). Since then we’ve been treated to a succession of disjointed, at best, culminating in last weeks game in Greece. That game was described by a relative (a match going red for over 62 years) as simply the worst Utd performance he’d ever seen. DM is a decent man, but he was, is and always will be the wrong choice.

  3. This is really right. The void scholesy left. Only if we had Modric (imo). Or me per se coz i will play for free and a satnav too. LoooL.

  4. Im sorry but I think your argument is flawed – you laid out the tactics that DM wishes to play and then demonstrate that is doesn’t work because it doesn’t fit the strengths and weaknesses of the players, but a top manager would modify his tactics to work with the players at his disposal. DM has shown a complete lack of tactical nous – he can’t get his team to perform cohesively at all, they all look clueless and lost – he also seems incapable of motivating them. I know they get paid extraordinary amounts of money and that along with playing for the greatest club in the world should be all the motivation they need but unfortunately professional sport is a lot about psychologically supporting players to bring out their best – he hasn’t done that in the slightest. Players that seems like serial winners now look resigned to defeat when things go wrong, DM inspires no confidence in his players. Overall if DM had shown some semblance of progression I would agree that he should be given more time but he hasn’t as as such we should cut our losses and find somebody else.

  5. Yeah i do appreciate the way u argue…nobody knows whether moyes is the right man 4 the job bt tyme will tell. His tactics are always good if he gets the right players. He has time during the transfer 2 rejuvinate man utd. Ggmu forever.

  6. Good article. But Moyes doesn’t seem to appreciate the magnitude of the job at hand. In modern football it takes more than being mentally strong and no nonsense to build a good team. Nobody in support of Moyes has actually talked about his playing style, what style is DM noted for. And to think of Phil Neville being first team coach, greatest joke of the year. In my opinion DM is not the right man for the job, the era of longetivity in football is fast going, and the better we realise that

  7. This article is a joke. So because we dont have player s to execute a certain style of play, the team can’t function? So if we are unable to get the players over the summer we will have yo sit through this again? Moyes lacks the tactical nous to manage a team like Man Utd. His decision making (both team selection and substitution) is poor. He does not have confidence in himself so he can’t motivate the team. His training methods are achaic. His body language is terrible. Half of the time he looks clueless and hapless. His team looks dysfunctional. There os nothing in his CV that indicated that he deserved th job in the first place, and he has done nothing to prove that he can succeed on the job. Moyes shld be sent back to Everton but of course they would not accept him, They now have a better manager!

  8. I couldn’t agree more. Commentators have been saying since 2010 that this is one of the weakest United squads in years. Ferguson knew how to consistently get the best out of them but it was only a matter of time until the squad got exposed, especially with the inactivity in the transfer market over the years. This season I think David Moyes’ only mistake was trusting the players he was given, perhaps a bit too much. But who would walk into a locker room full of a squad that just won the title by 11 points and immediately start offloading? I blame the players more than anything for this season, they eased off way too much once Ferguson left and any manager in the world would find it impossible to motivate them. The best thing to do in the summer, besides invest in CM’s and defenders, is to get rid of all our players over 30 (except for RVP and Carrick) and introduce our most promising young players into the first team (Powell, Cole, Keane etc). Beyond that, I dont think much else can get done in one summer… Make no mistake, rebuilding Manchester United is far from an easy task and anyone expecting Moyes’ first 2 seasons to be rosy is as delusional as they are short sighted. Give him time, Rome wasn’t built in a day

  9. Moyes is not the right for the job, I blame fergie for hand picking him ,everyone thinks he is the right guy because fergie hand picked him.The guy is clueless ,what was he doing the summer transfer market ,NOTHING.He plays a team that plays well in one game he changes in the next game ,he plays cleverly,young,valencia and loans out zaha ,leaves kagawa on the bench.Guardiola went to Barca as an under achiever but he turned his fortunes around, moyes OUT!

  10. Moyes has lost the players. Not many are backing him in any form.
    He speaks utter tripe post matches and before matches.
    When we played Arse at home they played as if Fergie was in charge.
    He keeps saying ‘United come strong second half of the season’, but keeps losing.
    He is out of his depth. Fans know it. Players know it. Hopefully the board know it and get rid.

  11. I believe Moyes has gone wrong in so many ways. The constant playing of Young above Kagawa(not his real position but way better) and Janujaz is really troubling. I think he(Young) has to be the first out of the door. And I think we have lost our Cleverley.So sad. Hopefully we get our new signings ASAP. So they can start blending with the team and the philosophy. #MoyesStays

  12. Why do people keep saying we should be patient? Arsenal have been patient with Wenger and won f all for years. Chelsea have changed managers every other year and won everything in that same period. This is not 1986. Times have changed and a season is more than enough to give the manager of the biggest team on the planet.

  13. Direct from the Official Manchester Lunatic Asylum……..A Club spokesman said…………….Rooney is worth every penny of his 300,000 a week wages……Cast your mind back to how brilliant he plays against Everton and Liverpool…..Then his Champions League Final performances….He is as good as Beckham (Just)….but no Best,Law,Charlton,Robson or Cantona….Big match player?….Captain?…but let us look at the rest of the patients currently at the Theatre of Nightmares….
    Young is as good as Nani,who is as good as Fellaini,who is as good as Wellbeck on the left wing,who is as good as Smalling playing at right back, who is as good as Kagawa on the wing.(A Complete waste of a central midfielder) who is as good as Cleverley playing anywhere….but are all better than Lingard,Rafael,Zaha,Chicharito and Januzai according to Moyes the Magnificent…….Well he did buy Darren Gibson from us…………

    Rio,used sparingly last year ,was overplayed at the start of the season,along with Vidic,and now the squad operate at a speed just above stationery …..No movement, where once there was….confusion between the strikers,….Carrick is done..(No matter what his wife says)…Giggsy please stop now….The following have been injured so far and are nothing like the shadows they once were ….never mind the players they once were…Rooney,RVP,Rio,Vidic,Jones,Evans,Carrick,Rafael,Nani,Chicharito,and Kagawa…..The following have been undermined by Moyes trying to sign players behind their backs Evra,Rafael,Kagawa,…..The following were signed as overpriced midfielders Mata and Rodney Trotter Fellaini…..

    We have a Clown who has never beaten the scousers….never won anything and never will ,teaching the Premiership Champions how to play football his way……Are United Crazy?……

    ‘Old Trafford’…..as it is now known the ‘Theatre of Nightmares’…….A complete Madhouse where tactics,substitutions,player acquisitions,style of play,and the retention of a complete doughbag of a manager,is nothing less than MADNESS…..OLD TRAFFORD once THE THEATRE OF DREAMS…….NOW AN ASYLUM for THE INSANE….
    The team is not responding to Moyes……So for SAF to back him.??????…With the “great’ Joe Royle backing Moyes until the end of next season….By that time we will be looking for Tony Pullis to manage us (He has never been relegated….we will need him)….that is the Nightmare of Nightmares……He needs to go NOW……..And if he stays ,it will get worse……Who are the fans going to turn on?………..SAF…….How sad will that be?……The money rifled out of the cash machine that is Old Trafford..by the owners …. could have bought us the World’s greatest players…..instead it went to the banks…….Moyes has sucked the energy out of the players and the fans……And if he stays another year, can I put it forward that both SAF and Sir Bobby resign as directors for this debacle,but also for sucking up to the carpetbaggar owners…………

    Please stop the ‘He needs time crap’………it is sheer insanity

  14. pellegrini new manager didnt need much time to sort city out signed 4 players b4 he started , ancelotti didnt need time at chelsea , psg or madrid , jose doesnt need time , moyes out

  15. MOyes is just pathetic as are the board for ny gettin rid already…i for one doesn’t care what fergie says about givin the fuckin gimp time…time for what exactly?? The guy is shit pure and simple as is all the backroom staff. The board need to wake up and sack the fool

  16. The only thing that baffles me is why United fans have taken so long to catch on.

    So far as I am concerned this all goes back to the Champions League final against Barcelona when we were well and truly tanned. Anyone who saw the interview after the game could see Fergie was shell shocked After that game Fergie’s whole philosophy changed Instead of producing young vital teams he retained players well past their best and adopted that tedious tip tap .play across the back bore the opposition to death football. We threw the League away two years ago from a winning position and it is pure testament to Fergie’s genius that he got it back last year with the worst United squad for over 25 years. To my mind that feat almost equals The Treble. He lost that amazing ability to judge when a player had peaked and when to get rid. Scholes was past it the first time he retired and should not have been brought back. It was awful to watch one of the worlds best midfielders struggle to keep up with the game. Neville and Evra kept on two years too long Ferdinand a wreck for the last three years plus the horrific injury to Vidic. As for Giggs he should have been pensioned off 4 years ago. If anyone tells me that the likes of Young Wellbeck Cleverley Evans and Raphael are Manchester United players I think I’ll be ill as they all just about make Championship level. Nani and Valencia had their brief moment in the sun but their stars have well and truly faded. My hopes for Jones and Smalling are fading – Jones because he is never fit and Smalling because whenever he has a good game at centre back its followed by a game at fullback where quite frankly he is rubbish. Add to this the failure to reinforce the squad with quality players and the failure of so many recent signings and this was an accident waiting to happen.

    Between them Sir Alex and Sir Matt were our two most successful managers but also share a less attractive feature – when they retired they both left us with awful teams. Quite simply Moyes is not responsible for the for the dreadful squad he inherited from Fergie and should not be blamed for that. Where he should carry the can is his total failure in the summer transfer window – his complete lack of a tactical plan and his failure to motivate players. This might even get worse because if you go round saying we need five or six quality signings in summer there is little incentive for existing players to put in a shift. Moyes did not get us into this hole but he sure isn’t the man with the shovel to get us out of it.

  17. I am afraid the central premise of your position is unsustainable. Moyes should not be given time to impose ‘his philosophy and style of playing. He was not appointed to re-invent Man U but to sustain it.It is utterly wrong that he should have been allowed to believe his role was to create a team in his own image. I too applauded his appointment but now recognise my faith was misplaced. I do not believe that he has the skill to manage such a job. I also believe that the club are culpable for allowing him rid of the backroom staff, especially the trainers. I still unsure whether this was due to insecurity, over-confidence or downright inability. Whatever occasioned such an outcome, apparently in direct contradiction of advice, his ‘philosophy’ has proved to be a disaster. I believe his attempts to rid the influences of SAF by imposing his own staff/methods/style of play have left experienced professionals perplexed. If you have won nothing and never reached the highest professional level as a player it is hard to convince a player that your system is a better one when trying to change a 20+ year winning regime – especially when, demonstrably, your revised system proves to be an abject failure.
    Moyes has failed at every level since appointment and shows no signs of understanding what has gone wrong. In other management situations, this might be defined as either ignorance or ignorance – whichever is the cause, failure is the inevitable outcome. It is not an irretrievable situation but redemption must commence with the recognition that Moyes approach is utterly wrong and needs immediate reorientation

  18. Its fascinating how the amount of ‘time’ that our manager needs keep on lengthening.I heard some pundit saying 6 months,then a season and now we hear the proper time to check him out is until the end of next season by which time we would have become Liverpool. At all elite clubs this sort of thing doesn’t happen because the powers that be don’t allow for sentiment to get in the way of decision making.Well,time Mr Moyes is getting and will continue getting. SAF saw potential in the guy otherwise his is not a CV that should have got him the job in all honesty

  19. With due respect to the longevity talked about here,I think it still won’t work for DM.
    1) He had it at Everton and failed to impact.couldn’t even qualify for champions league.
    2) He doesn’t promise any progress at all. Though he deserves a second season.and that would be “standing by the new Manager” enough.
    3) this is not the time for “longevity” at the expense of success. This is the 21st century and competition is at its best, a fact we can’t deny. I think we need someone with a pre-rich history and able to motivate the players as well as push the team forward.
    Winning should be inevitable for teams like Manchester united. We shouldn’t give room to statistical logic, find us someone who can take the team forward and forget about hoping for the future. The time is now. Moyes is a good man but he’s not material for a demanding club like Manchester united.
    To me its gone wrong on the manager’s part. There’s something lacking and I think it’s quality.
    All the Best for our manager and the Best team in the world though. Thank you.

  20. Medalisto ,you have become liverpool already I’m sorry to say mate .Once the fear factor is gone every team wants to have a go ,and when utd go a goal up they no longer think ohh well that’s us beat .This air of invinceability takes years to build and when it goes well it take years to get it back in other words a new team .I have been waiting for 24 years for it to return for my club just like utd waited 25 years for it to come back the last time .each start to a season you wonder will this be it and sometimes the season was over before November I honestly don’t see utd challenging under moyes .

  21. I agree with the guy but if your tactics aren’t working due to lack of personnel then you do a makeshift job until you get the players you want
    In fact I’ve been saying the same thing.. Difference is like you say DM likes to play with full backs sitting midfielders and wingers… Well then he’s choosing 4 wrong players every game
    Evra isn’t working out so he cant be insistent with him.. Change to buttner… wingers aren’t working…utd don’t even have one winger who can be counted as top 10 wingers in the world.. Change to inside fwds until you buy your lot

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