Is the transfer window the answer to Moyes’ problems?

A mantra has been building this season. With each successive humiliation the mantra is repeated on social media, in pubs and on the terraces, “Wait until the transfer window opens and Moyes can buy six new players”.

There are myriad variations on the theme of this mantra but the sentiment is always along the lines that the current predicament is simply a result of the weakness of the squad that Ferguson limped over the line to the league title only for every component within the machine to cough and expire as David Moyes approached it.

We have already analysed the strength of the squad and it’s not that weak. Rumours of its demise have been exaggerated more than the size of Michael Knighton’s wallet. A par score for this squad, taking into account the mythical “transitional season” is 3rd place in the league, a decent run at the domestic cups and last 16 of the Champion’s League. Anything less than that is suggestive of an endemic failure of management to extrapolate value from the squad.

Barcelona vs Manchester United

Take Barcelona; a team that changed manager recently. They are in a “transitional season” and have been playing somewhat below their form in recent years but would the club’s executives be happy with a mid table position and repeated hammerings from teams that are not significantly stronger? Barcelona are similar in a respect to United in that one facet of their team has been openly noted as weak in recent years; their defence. Lest we forget that they lined 5ft1in central midfielder Javier Mascherano up against us at the back in the Champion’s League final a few years ago. Our failure to exploit that weakness was our downfall on the night.

All teams have weaknesses and the United midfield has been weak for years; this is not something new for Moyes to deal with. United have won league titles and been crowned Champions of Europe with a weak midfield. Surely it is the job of the manager to find ways to play that mitigate weaknesses by exploiting strengths?

Barcelona beat us at Wembley by exploiting their many attacking strengths and preventing United from exploiting their defensive frailties. Not to mention the fact that Moyes has spent more than £60M on midfielders. Fellaini, when we played Everton last season, was identified by many United supporters as an example of what we lacked in midfield. A few days later, Dembele was given the same accolade when we played Fulham. Make no mistake; despite their performances this season both Fellaini and Mata are good additions to the squad if you deploy them in a gameplan that suits their individual skill set.

And here we are again… after a lengthy and torturous journey around the stating of the obvious we arrive back at the same place. It is possible to get any group of players to play well if they all understand the tactics and know what they need to do in order to contribute to the execution of the game plan. In order to have tactics and a game plan you need a strategy and for that to really work, it helps if you have an over-arching footballing philosophy. Was Moyes absent the day that they taught this in football manager academy? As I mentioned in a previous article, both Rodgers and Pochettino were there and took copious notes. Perhaps David can borrow…

moyes-signing-autographs

So those of you expecting things to improve once the transfer window opens again are likely to be disappointed. We have seen two transfer windows with Moyes and Woodward at the helm. The first was an embarrassing farce culminating in a panic buy on deadline day and the second was equally poor but ended with the acquisition of a quality player albeit one whom we didn’t actually need. After all, if Moyes refused to deviate from 442 to accommodate Kagawa in the team then how was he going to get Mata into the team? The answer, sadly, is that he simply did the same thing as he did with Kagawa and stuck Mata on the wing.

It is true that Chelsea and City strengthened in the summer but not to any great extent. The biggest difference was that both of them changed their manager. Mourinho and Pelligrini are upgrades over their predecessors and whilst we all accepted that Moyes would initially be a downgrade from the abilities of Sir Alex Ferguson we are left pondering just how far down this team can slide under his management.

I’ve said this before and will say it again: Moyes could buy Ronaldo, Bale, Iniesta, Götze and Müller in the summer but without the ability to explain to these world class players how they are going to play together to successfully defeat the opposition he will still fail to win anything of note.

This is not about players, old or new. This is about a manager who is simply out of his depth and drowning fast. Either someone rescues all of us by replacing him with a manager who already knows how to swim in these waters or Manchester United will spend the next five years transitioning to a club that will require an investment of £500M to get back into contention for the top. The longer the Glazers delay, the more they will have to invest to get back to parity.

15 Comments

  1. A very good piece. Football is not about just spending money and its more about tactics and coaching. We can spend £200 million but its a waste if Moyes continues as our manager.

  2. Very good article.

    Everywhere we look, we read that we need to replace more than half of the squad. It’s a manager’s job to motivate the team. Statistically Evra was in the top five full backs last season. St Moyes arrived stating he wanted a new left back – and Evra has lost a yard of pace ever since. Old age? Or de-motivated? Ditto Vidic.

    And after every game St Moyes says they need to work harder, or, we can’t blame the players because they worked hard. He can only judge players on effort – being the ex-Preston manager, he’s not used to judging players on skill or organisation – the main attributes of champions. It’s all about working harder – not smarter, and not being organised.

    So how many skilful world-class players are going to come to Old Trafford to be taught to run harder?

    And final rant – if St Moyes can’t play the two players be bought for £64m in their right roles, why should he be given £200m to repeat the trick with 4 or 5 more players?

    He really, truly, appallingly, is out of his depth. BUT my biggest worry is that the board at Old Trafford can’t see it. So my anger and resentment is no longer aimed at Moyes – it’s aimed at his employers. And if my absolute hero, Sir Bobby Charlton says Moyes is the right man for the job, then my resentment is regrettably aimed at him too.

  3. If there are any Moyes supporters out there, please post a list of his qualities, talents, philosophy, vision, relevant experience etc which makes him suitable for one of the most demanding jobs in world football.

    We all knew that Fergie would be a hard act to follow, all the more reason for making sure that his successor had plenty of the attributes required to make a decent go of it. Being a Glasgwegian mate of Fergie isn’t one of them. Moyes has no experience at the elite level and no success at any level.

    Really, what are his credentials for the job?

    • His credentials are that Fergie chose him and that might be the problem,stuborn old Sir Fergie,still there but being very silent indeed.

  4. I think a team can have one weak department and get away with it, but we have 2 weak departments, the midfield and defence.
    You say you can have the greatest players in the world but if you don’t have the right tactics you’ll be poor – likewise, you can have the best tactics in the world but if you have poor players. I honestly think we’re getting bogged down with this tactic thing – how many of uniteds current squad would City, Liverpool or Chelsea take to put in their 1st team? I’m afraid it’s a long building job

    • Obviously now that moyes has completely shattered the confidence and reputation of our players none of them would be appealing to say they would get into any of the top 4 teams, but if you asked the same question at the beginning of the season I’d say united have better players position for position than spurs, everton, arsenal and Liverpool.

  5. Manchester United at the moment loses its aim and missions. If its only one or two player that is playing badly, we can understand that its individual. But this is happening to the whole team.

    Evra to me its still as good and one of the best left back. Why do we not pay respect to him? It amazes me that some people make him to be as bad as league one player. Buttner who is younger plays not even half as good as Evra.

    What Moyes did wrong is his failure to trust his players and the good management skills that fergie has. Fergie make players believe they are good and transform and perform as well over their limit. Moyes make the players believe they are as bad as league 3 players. He did not believe in the players and the player in turn dont know perform well for him.

    Secondly, Moyes tactic is zero. He cant do anything or have any tactical brain to perform a plan B. Always the same old tactic. Bring it wide, cross it in. Moreover, he chooses to place emphasis on players that he likes. I for one think that Anderson is better than Cleverley but foreign players get treated badly by him. Look at Kagawa, Anderson, Nani, Valencia, Chicharito. In turn he puts Cleverley, Young, Welbeck. I like to say that if they three play together, the chances of the team losing is very high.

    Anderson for me can hold and bring the balls forward which is what Cleverley dont have and seems to afraid of doing. It’s not their fault why things become so bad, its the manager fault that in 9months time, a Champions club who has Theatre of Dreams where clubs scare to come and play at to become a club hanging at 7th place where players are lost and no drive, passions and desire to win.

    The team at the moment loses the fight to win, the fighting spirits. Given one more year, will it improves? I dont think so. Where do i get this conclusions? From the team that plays at the moment, the manager simply put, has no idea who the best team is and what they capable of. Worst still, he suck those players confidence out.

  6. Any Club in the premier leage today will need to spend Money,which is getting more expensive by the day.What United need is a reasonably priced,very good modern tactical manager(Martinez).A good talent spotter negotiater(a la Laudrup)and a good player relations organiser ,trainer)Giggs.In other Words United need not only to sack Moyes but also the higher ups who cant seem to see the problem.It,s like asking the political elite to kindly sack themselves,so the country can run smother,and pigs might fly.

  7. The fans need to mobilize into a united front. We need to show the Glazers that things have to change.

    Get on Twitter and Facebook, and spread the word. We need to unite.

  8. I share the same urgency…Moyes need to be replace as soon as possible…the more time he has, sadly it would only mean more talent and club money will be wasted.

  9. Yay.. We will be stuck in this shyte for a long time. Glazers don’t even care. The 200 mil is not from their pocket, its the club money. Like it or not, moyes will stay at least for 3 season. Glazers don’t know about football, but they know about the loyalty of the sport fans. As long as the stadium is full and merchandise sale is flowing. They would gladly let fergie and charlton take the heat for backing moyes.

  10. Moyes rubbishing of the squad on his arrival removes any entitlement he may have had to support and time to settle in. It’s not the squad where the problem lies but rather Moyes demotivational tactics. His persistence with the over priced under performing Fellaini epitomises where the team is heading and why. Even yesterday, Moyes lauded Fellaini’s fumbling miskick that rebounded off two defenders before fortuitously finding Mata who found the net. The arrogance of his position in claiming a desire to build HIS team is overwhelming. This manager inherited a legacy of 20+ years of success. What made him belief he could improve on that record? Present evidence suggests that cannot even sustain it. He should not have been allowed to dismantle the backroom staff. I am tired of hearing pundits tell me that managers need their own people around them. How is it, in other walks of life, managers need to work with the staff they inherit? Ask for bringing Phil Neville and appointing Ryan Giggs, I question the motivation for these appointments and wonder if they were a sop to the fans. I was happy to hear of Moyes appointment but my satisfaction was quickly dashed when I learned of all the changes he was making. I have read in more than one publication that he was encouraged to retain the existing Man U backroom staff by SAF but chose to import his own. A shockingly bad season engineered by 90% of management ineptitude.

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