The back page of the Telegraph this morning read “clueless, aimless and hopeless” after Manchester United’s abject defeat away to Olympiakos, leaving the club embarrassed and only a slim chance of qualifying in the 2nd leg. I’m inclined to agree.
It was the worst performance of the season on a night when Manchester United needed their best. There is little to no chance of qualifying for the Champions League through the Premier League position so winning it seems our best opportunity. They were outplayed and out-fought in every area of the pitch, so much so that Manchester United didn’t even record a single shot on target.
Before the game in his ITV interview David Moyes said we’ll come out compact and try to make it difficult for Olympiakos. Everything pointed to a conservative performance and we weren’t even treated to that. We were slow in possession, most of which took place between the 2 centre backs and Michael Carrick dropping as deep.
In an endeavour to get the ball forward, the defenders lofted the ball for Van Persie to chase and get control. The football we played was horrendous. It’s been like this for most of the season, and a bit of pressing from the opposition exposed that to a much larger extent. At right back we saw one of the worst and clumsiest performances by centre back Chris Smalling. He’s played there before, sure, but when full backs are the greatest attacking outlets in David Moyes’ locker, playing a centre back there is an absolute clanger, one that he has made time and again this season.
After the match David Moyes said: “I didn’t see that level of performance coming. ” And therein lies the problem. This performance will have come as no surprise to us fans, we’ve seen many more like it this season. It’s hard to forget that David Moyes is not a proactive manager, which is what we’ve been used to for years, but rather a reactive manager. This has been our downfall all season. Instead of attacking the game we coast through games, see where it goes and try to react to it. David Moyes’ Manchester United allow other teams to dictate the game and make plans accordingly. We allow teams onto us and this is the reason why we’ve conceded these deflected goals this season.
David Moyes has bemoaned luck all season, but as the much over-used cliché goes, you make your own luck. And that is what we used to do under Sir Alex Ferguson. We used to attack teams from the off, put them under pressure and when we couldn’t find a breakthrough it’d eventually come late on, sometimes even from a deflected or scrappy goal.
I’ve been willing to give David Moyes a chance this season. In my mind there has existed a belief that David Moyes could turn it around, although this has been utterly baseless and borne mainly out of Sir Alex Ferguson telling us after Swansea at home last season to stand by our new manager. This belief has now been banished. It is evident that he has lost the players.
There has been no evidence throughout his tenure so far to suggest David Moyes is the right man. Things were not good enough earlier in the season but recently, since the turn of the year, it seems we are hitting new depths of low every week. We seem to be getting worse and I have zero faith in David Moyes’ ability to turn things around.
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