First Team Match Reaction News

What We Learned: Sunderland 2-1 Manchester United

The enduring vision of last night’s third consecutive 2-1 defeat, this time away to Sunderland in the first leg of what has become a crucial Capital One Cup semi-final, was that of Sirs Alex Ferguson and Bobby Charlton staring blankly at another abject display. The latter shook his head, and the piercing gaze of the former would be enough to suggest that he would have ripped in to his charges once they had returned to the sanctuary of the dressing room if he still had a manager’s privilege. A Ryan Giggs own-goal and a slightly contentious Fabio Borini penalty saw Sunderland grab the initiative in the tie in front of a sparsely populated crowd at the Stadium of Light. Here’s what we made of it;

Same old problems, same old outcomes

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it feels like we’ve been here before. Just two days ago, in fact. After the loss to Swansea, the post-match were nothing new; defensive errors, limited attack and an uninspired managerial presence on the sidelines. The problem is that as United’s form approaches a farcical level, the team continues to labour unsuccessfully and the manager sits there looking thoroughly bereft of ideas or fight, you can’t see how things are going to improve.

It’s easy to criticise Tom Cleverley after his bum-first foul on Adam Johnson or single out Ryan Giggs for the unfortunate own-goal, but the truth is that few of the starting XI covered themselves in glory last night, and until the team as a collective begins to take responsibility instead of wishing for a moment of brilliance from Adnan Januzaj or a slice of luck, then very little will improve.


That starts right at the top. Sir Alex Ferguson inspired enough confidence in his charges that it pushed them to be the catalyst in games as tight as this, where the result hinges on a single goal. Moyes has to try to do the same, even if he can never hope to reach similar levels of adulation. The players, for their part, are still not pulling in the same direction, and lack a leader. Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra may retain the Captain’s armband but it doesn’t feel as if there is a vocal point capable of energising his charges, at least not at the moment.

What a positive start to the year.

United’s chances of winning silverware this season are slipping away

Take nothing away from Sunderland; they took their chances, were exceptionally disciplined and organised in defence and showed the sort of disregard for the league table that saw Cheslea come a cropper in the last round. But they’re still bottom of the Premier League, and United did not look like beating them. It’s another in a long line of unbeaten runs that have fallen this season with United looking forlorn and short of ideas with the clock ticking down.

The issue here is that this isn’t a league game; it’s a chance to book a spot in the final of the league cup, which is surely United’s only viable option for silverware this season. It’s worth pointing out that this is only the halfway stage in the tie, but with form at Old Trafford so poor of late, there’s not a hint of certainty attached to the prospect of a comeback when the sides meet in two weeks time. If one or both of Wayne Rooney or Robin Van Persie return, then things change dramatically, but at the moment, the current team are doing a convincing impression of incapability. Of course, there’s the small matter of navigating a route past City to consider if we do get past, but to stumble before that point wasn’t meant to be an option.

Moyes’ refereeing jibes are a protective cloak…

…and one that his players are perhaps a little undeserving of. For a start, claiming that United are receiving the rough end of the stick in terms of refereeing decisions was ludicrous given that Rafael should have been shown his marching orders having left his studs on Fabio Borini’s toes having only just being booked. Tom Cleverley’s contact on Johnson for the decisive penalty was clumsy, no two ways about it even if Johnson flopped down a little too eagerly. In this instance, moaning about refereeing decisions is the work of a man trying to shield his players from criticising them himself in public. We all know it doesn’t wash, and it’s certainly not telling the whole story.


These three successive 2-1 defeats have been tight affairs, of course, but each have been characterised by a lack of chances created and defensive errors. Sure, a penalty for the Lloris foul last week might have saved a point, but the fact is that United are playing so poorly lately that extra significance is being given to any major refereeing decision. If United are relying on singular crunch moments like that going their way in order to win, then you have your indication on how far the team’s confidence has dropped.

Ferguson might serve his club better with absence for now

Before you delve into these paragraphs, just know that this suggesting Sir Alex Ferguson’s presence at Manchester United matches is one of the biggest problems that Moyes and his team face. Thing is that we’ve spent many months lamenting the Glazers and the club’s transfer policy (or lack thereof) to the point that there’s almost nothing new to add to the subject, and given how awry things are currently going for United’s manager, it’s worth venturing beyond those reliable bastions of complaint.

Sir Alex Ferguson watches on from the dugout

With that in mind, with United truly struggling and Moyes dealing with warranted criticism due to a poor sequence of results, it’s difficult to see how Ferguson’s presence in the stands is helping. Yes, Moyes has identified his predecessor as a helpful sounding board, but at a time where “The Chosen One” is at his lowest ebb and his players are not fully buying into his methods or management, it can’t help to see the club’s most famous manager and the man who picked him for the job in the stands watching the empire he built over 27 years wobble significantly.

If that sounds like an excuse, picture this; you’ve been handpicked for the biggest job of your career by one of the best in the world in your line of work. It’s not going so well, you’re coming under greater pressure from outside sources, your own supporters and your employees don’t appear to be reacting in the way you’d like. Who’s the last person you want to see looking down on your failures?

Saturday is massive

There’s an inescapable feeling at the moment that David Moyes is creeping towards dangerous territory the longer this run continues, and a fourth straight defeat,  potentially leaving United eight points from the safety of the top four, veers a little too close to unthinkable for comfort. Plenty of others have said it, and it’s not without merit; the game against Swansea on Saturday afternoon is huge. Even if the board support David Moyes, they can’t allow this sort of form to go unchecked, and they certainly do not want to risk allowing Old Trafford to descend into open rebellion. Failing to inspire the players is one thing, but losing the fans is another entirely. Moyes must avoid that, and has to start turning these tight defeats into something more positive or his job will only become more difficult.

Enjoy that? Give it a share!

12 replies on “What We Learned: Sunderland 2-1 Manchester United”

Ferguson had the same problems himself when he first took over as everybody knows and just think if Ferguson had of been sacked? United would be nowhere near 20 titles now. Moyes needs at least 3 years to change things because the team Ferguson left, a lot of the best important players don’t have it in them anymore to be top players, they’re just too old. Another manager coming in will have the same problems so there’s no point sacking Moyes and turning into a club that shows no loyalty to their manager. Taking over and trying the keep the same level as Ferguson was the impossible task people need to realize this.

Well Patrick, Ferguson inherited a squad that was second from bottom in the league. Not the champions of England. So that point isn’t valid. I’m a supporter of Moyes, and I feel he should be given time. But only because everyone accepts the squad needs to be rebuilt. That Ferguson was struggling at first is irrelevant to our current situation

But these so called “champions” are hardly world beaters. Ferguson done well to get what he did out of them and Moyes can’t seem to find a way replicate that. The ordinary players need to be shipped out, Cleverley, Smalling, Anderson, Nani, Young, and replaced with a better standard of player. On a side note, watching the class of ’92 DVD shows what quality we once had and compared to them the current midfield is no where near good enough to what is required.

Not a comparison, Fergy took over a poor team. Raphaels would have been a harsh sending off and the penalty was a dive which apparently is ok if it’s against United.. That aside United’s problem starts with Fergy, no doubt it is considered opinion throughout world football that great teams are built from the middle it feeds the attack and protects the defense, only fergy has got it work without and then only with RVP scoring 1 or 2 goals a game. Without that, we have reverted to what everyone else does but without a midfield with any quality. Fix that United will be ok.. Don’t fix it they won’t ever..

I keep hearing this that Fergie had the same problem when he took the reigns. Thats true but theres one big difference. The fact is this same team won the Premiership last season. Fergie took over a team in years of decline.
Moyes big mistake was removing the backroom team. All that experience, gone in a flash, to be replaced by a team apart from Phil Neville not used to a club the size of Man United, its size & expectations.
Watching United now, its clear to see the players have no faith in the Manager, the fights gone, the confidence is gone.
There are reports that the training sessions are out of date, which would explain all the training injuries the players are receiving.
The fact is unless Moyes can get the respect of the players, which he is obviously missing things will only get worse !!

I’m afraid, the only way to save the season is to spend 40 plus million on Barkley and another 20 plus on dembele. If they ask for mire, so be it. The price of dropping out if top 4 is much, much higher!

David Moyes has to shoulder some of the blame but, look the glazers are the ones to blame even more so.
Look at bayern, won the world , litteraly, and spent 30 million in Gotze , bought alcantara, and now Lewandowski. They have been strenthening every year. That’s where we would have been without the glazers bleeding us dry! Sir gave them breathing space. Now is time to invest. Otherwise get out of my club leaches!

Think alot of games were pretty average last season and it was VPersie who rescued it mostly.United need him allthuogh he isnt up to top notch this season plus Roony out .All the disapointment for the fans is very understandable.Its very frustrating and boring entertainment but most of it is from last season.New players are needed we all know but even then if the tactics are still very cautious then it will still be the same middle table stuff.Not all is lost this season until May but Moyes needs to turn this around sharpish starting Saturday..

Last time out, Fergie had us outscore opponents because of defensive issues and once the attack was up and running, he decided to tighten up the back. Moyes though seems a bit clueless as to where should he start rebuilding. Some players look like they haven’t kicked a ball in months. Look at Chicha, the past few games he’s had his chances but failed to convert. Let’s not kid ourselves; Hernandez would have buried those chances with his eyes closed in his first season in the club. Same goes for quite a few others. Young is hopeless and two goals doesn’t take away the fact that he has been substandard. I’d have been very happy had Moyes recalled Lingard from loan and given him a chance in the first team. Fellaini shouldn’t be on the pitch until he’s up to speed with the squad’s style of play. He’s not a bad player but right now he’s not good enough. Given time, I’m sure he’ll improve. Valencia is too predictable. Clevs regained some semblance of form with Jones but with Carrick back, he’s gone back to playing within himself. He’s played his best with Anderson (2 seasons ago) and Wilshere along side him. i refuse to believe he’s as bad as a player many people make him out to be. Buttner could make a decent Winger, that’s all I can say. Nani is, well, he’s Nani.

This squad needs a bit of an overhaul. Powell and Lingard to come into the fold. We need just one good midfielder but a couple of good wingers is a must. Either that or we ditch playing with widemen and use Kagawa and Januzaj in a more narrow system.

Rant over ^_^

When Ferguson came to Old he arrived with an impressive C.V. He had replaced Celtic and Rangers as the dominant force in Scottish football, with Aberdeen. Several League titles, cups, European Cup Winners Cup, European Super Cup were in his trophy cabinet. He had also taken Scotland to the 1986 World Cup Finals.
Ferguson’s track record was that of an ambitious winner. He was still only forty four years old.

David Moyes arrived as a fifty year old with fourteen years experience in football management and zero silverware. Hardly the track record of a winner and certainly not a match for Ferguson’s when he arrived. Moyes had taken Preston to the Championship playoffs followed by ten years at Everton, not a rich club, but not one of the League’s minnows either. At Goodison he oversaw a steady, solid, comfortable if uninspiring decade.

Would Moyes have got the United job if it been filled by open competition? In fact, would he have even applied for the job? Did he have a burning desire, a driving motivation to reach the top of the mountain? If so would such a person have spent the ten years from forty to fifty years of age treading water at Goodison?

I’m all for giving the right man time, but is David Moyes the right man?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.