Wednesday 21 February 2018 / 12:30 AM

Moyes Needs To Learn Fast

Oh David, David, David. If it wasn’t enough that Man Utd lost again on Saturday against West Brom to give them only 7 points from 6 games, David Moyes again saw fit to say more than he should in his post match interview, and if United’s form continues in this downward spiral and Moyes can’t learn to keep his mouth shut; the Scotsman’s job could be untenable a lot quicker than many would have predicted at the beginning of the season.

Following the loss at home to the Baggies, Moyes was quick to admit that his team had not played particularly well, but amid comments regarding the match, Moyes also seemed to intimate that he didn’t believe Manchester United were capable of winning the Champions League this season. Whilst this may be true, did this really need to be stated in the glare of post-match defeat? Did Moyes really think that this would help him? Perhaps he thought that a comment like that would temper expectation, but ultimately it has been far more detrimental than that.

The clearest reason why a comment like that was unwise is that it condemns that manager himself. During the months of July and August, if David Moyes didn’t feel that his team were good enough to compete for the Champions League he had ample opportunity to rectify that issue. Eight weeks is generally enough time to identify transfer targets and bring them in, but the only business that Moyes and co managed to conduct was the botched purchase of Marouane Fellaini on deadline day for £4m more than he would have cost a month earlier. So by suggesting that the squad he has is not good enough to win the Champions League is tantamount to saying, ‘Yeah, basically I didn’t buy enough players in the summer’.

What makes a comment like that even more curious is that when questioned during the transfer window, Moyes suggested that he was extremely happy with the players he already had at his disposal, suggesting that it wouldn’t be a disaster if they didn’t recruit anyone. Fast forward a month, and he’s saying exactly the opposite.

What I find most peculiar about this debacle is that no one is speaking to Moyes and telling him – for want of a better phrase – to shut up. Off the top of my head, the Scot has:

  1. Suggested that Wayne Rooney was just a backup to Robin van Persie (this was when the transfer rumours circling around Rooney were at their most vociferous)
  2. Said all summer that they were going to bring players in and that deals were close
  3. Complained that he hadn’t had enough time to buy players
  4. Claimed in late September after working with the United squad for nearly three months that he was still getting to know the players
  5. Suggested that United only won the league so easily last season because of the paucity of competition
  6. Said that United need five or 6 world class players to win the Champions League suggesting that at least one of: Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, David de Gea, Marouane Fellaini (bought for £27.5m), Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand or Michael Carrick is not considered to be ‘world class’ according to the Scot
  7. Intimated that there was a conspiracy against Manchester United because the random fixture generator generated three difficult games early on in the season
  8. Repeated this paranoid suggestion following the loss to Man City

No doubt there are more, but that will certainly do. Manchester United are one of the biggest clubs in the world, and given that football is such a big business in this day and age, it’s not much of a stretch to call the Red Devils a multi-million pound international corporation. Think for a second: is there any chance that any other corporation of the size and stature of Man United would allow one of their spokesmen to continually make foolish comments in the media? Is there not a PR team that trains all of their media-facing employees? Given the carte blanche awarded to David Moyes one would have to say that this is not happening at United, but for the life of me I can’t understand why. Every single time Moyes says something stupid to the press, he not only gives them ammo to throw at him, but he makes United more and more of a laughingstock. And multi-million pound corporations can’t really afford (literally) to become laughingstocks.

Moyes’ comments have only heaped further pressure on him, and this is exactly the sort of pressure that the Scot could afford with an eminently tricky fixture away to Shakhtar Donetsk to look forward to on Wednesday night. Whilst Moyes enjoyed a good start to his Champions League career against Bayer Leverkusen, Donetsk at home are a different proposition entirely, and a loss to the Ukrainian champions would heap further pressure on the United boss. If they do lose on Wednesday night, let’s hope Moyes can keep his comments to himself and focus on stopping the rot at Old Trafford before it’s too late.

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Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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