I blame SAF for one specific thing but the absolute cause of our current plight is David Moyes. It is not that there will not be hiccups during a transition, MUFC is too big an operation to not have some stumbles along the way. You can say that SAF had his struggles when he first became manager but this club was in a different shape when he took over than when he handed it over to Moyes. In this day and age there are different expectations for what happens when a major club hands over to a new manager in today's football. How many managers have Chelsea seen this past decade? See Pellegrini and our noisy neighbors. There are transitions all the time in modern football but it is abysmal to see a club with the resources and prestige of Manchester United go from winning the league to battling bottom to mid-table teams and looking likely to finish out of a Champions League place.
It was Moyes' decision with regards to Meulensteen and the former coaches. The rumors are that SAF advised Moyes that continuity would be best. Moyes instead decided to build his own team filled with his people. I discount Giggs and Neville, they both just started coaching. Meulensteen would have been considerable enough. It has come to the forefront that Meulensteen was the current Quieroz, somewhat responsible for the tactics and methods of recent United teams. Even responsible for bringing in Robin Van Persie the way Queiroz had a hand in attracting Ronaldo. Meulensteen was asked to stay but more should have been done to keep him, even if only for a year. He would have helped with understanding the team better and their capabilities.
Moyes completely owns this team because of his poor decisions over the summer. He is taking over MUFC so he goes on a months vacation. Fine, one cannot begrudge him that. In that month did he bother to put on the tape and watch the United team that had just won the league? Did he see what was evident? A team that was average but put over the top by Van Persie's scoring brilliance and SAF's sheer move-a-mountain will. After all Moyes' own Everton team had beaten United quite comprehensively at the beginning of the season. No, when he finally takes over he repeatedly states that he is satisfied with the players he has. Not once, pretty much in each press conference. It is as if he was in awe of his new surroundings and new players. There is probably the thought of many managers, "If I had the resources of that other person I would have the same success". So Moyes chose to sit pat with a team that had several of its main actors over the age of 30 and not a considerable mix of youth. He saw something he had to fix though, that explains the mess at the end of the transfer window and the "I'll settle for my 5th option" Fellaini buy. The resources are there and a better manager would do better. It is telling that Everton is better under Martinez and United are worse under Moyes.
Moyes has been shortsighted and extremely brash in his transfer dealings. Running his mouth and brazenly talking about big stars for major clubs. For a man with the supposed ability to operate on the lower to mid end of the transfer market, it is telling that almost every player that United has been associated with has been of superstar quality. Is Moyes telling us that there is not one player that he was scouting while at Everton and would have moved for this past summer if not becoming United's coach? Would have been nice if he had thought about Ross Barkely when he was packing up his things. And so much for that thrifty reputation, Fellaini's release clause was ignored and his transfer negotiations where the epitome of ineptness. It is as if Moyes has let the much bigger check book of MUFC go to his head. A year ago he was convincing Kevin Mirallas and now he's declining on Mesut Ozil? What is the rationale in bidding 40 million for Fabregas but deeming Ozil as surplus to requirements? Fabregas generally sits a bit deeper and more centrally but he is not exactly a defensive minded midfielder. And it should not have taken until Januzaj started his weekly rescues that we had him locked to a contract extension.
Then there is the mantra that players only need to hear the name Manchester United and will drop everything to come and play for Moyes. An analogy for this is that Moyes is the dude with the posh sports car and a fancy pad, when the girl comes over it's a sure thing because he's got the panty droppers. Eh... wrong!!! The players that Moyes is targeting are the starters for the top teams in Europe. Such players do not want to deal with the collective ineptitude of Valencia, Nani and Young. Or the drab brand of football being played at United this season. And to players like Vidal, Thiago and Fabregas who exactly is David Moyes and what has he ever accomplished? Based on the manager who do you think Matuidi wants to play for, Chelsea or United ? Can you imagine Ibra jokingly telling Moyes he would play for United for free like he told Klopp about Dortmund? Yet this is a Moyes quote from this past weekend..."The amount of big players wanting to join United is incredible. Maybe players want to go for the money to other clubs but, if you ask them where they really want to be, they want to wear the badge of Manchester United". I'll take a hit of whatever this man is smoking please.
Moyes is to blame for his tactics, training and player rotations. We've heard of Moyes' penchant for needing to "know" his team and his players. Yet everyone except Moyes seems to realize that Kagawa is most effective behind the striker. Why in heavens name would he start Januzaj and Kagawa out of place 3+ months into the season? You don't have to be a Kagawa apologist to know that there is more to offer. Against Chelsea with their counter attacking ability and midfield presence he should have started Fletcher, either with Carrick or Jones. One player is efficient on the ball and the other is not, but one can assume that Moyes does not "know" Fletcher enough and still considers Carrick his starter. In fact he should have treated the Chelsea fixture like a European cup tie and packed the midfield. The defense has been atrocious this season. It has given up the killer goal in games with mid table teams, Newcastle and Southampton for example. Moyes chose not to give Evra adequate rest over the Christmas break before a big game with Tottenham. In the same game he moved Valencia to right back despite Tottenham's obvious tactic of drawing us in and hitting on the counter attack. Despite the extremely poor play of the wingers this season United are still one dimensional, this team lives and dies by the cross. Where is the coaching that adapts and evolves the teams methods? And what is all this nonsense that keeps bubbling about the training demands and grumblings by the players?
The players are not that much worse than they were last year. Raise your hands if you believe the team would be this poor under Sir Alex even with the injuries to Van Persie and Rooney. As manager you work with the problems and injuries and make the best of it. There was no Januzaj and Fletcher last year. Powell and Lingard are doing much better this year and could inject something different into the system. Moyes needs to resolve his own shortcomings before blaming the players and lady luck. The blame cannot be laid at anyone else's feet. Moyes needs to know this. The fans must chant it in the stands and write it on the banners. "You may be the chosen one but prove you deserve it". Moyes must know that it is he who needs to up his game as a coach and manager.
So I blame Sir Alex for so publicly telling us to stand by our new manager. It is not that the sentiment is bad, it is our desire and character as United fans. Still doing it so publicly now gives every pundit and commentator the temerity to behave like Moyes was just appointed manager of Sunderland and not Manchester United. All I'm hearing is how the players are letting Moyes down and he needs time or he's had a bit of bad luck. Doing it so publicly means Moyes is behaving like a man who believes he has several years to fix things and plans to bide his time. And that scares me. I do not want United to be just another major club, like a Liverpool, I want us to be winners like we have been for the past 3 decades. The task now is simple yet hard to achieve, a top 4 finish. I believe it requires some addition this transfer window. Not a panic buy but maybe a slightly overpaid buy in mold of a creative and industrious central player. Start working on the future, recall Powell, integrate Lingard and retire Giggs. If he does not believe in Kagawa then jettison him. Rooney and Van Persie coming back will help but there seems to be no certainty there. Moyes needs to take a critical look at himself, his decision making and the brand of football he is peddling. I do believe that Moyes has the DNA to keep us at the pinnacle, but I do not believe he is up to the task yet.