Many Manchester United supporters are panicking at the string of poor results that the club are experiencing under manager David Moyes. In my opinion, it’s unfair to pile all of the pressure and criticism on the back of the new manager. The footballers have got to take much of the blame, but ultimately Moyes is the one who has to face the critics.
Manchester United’s string of poor results are the result of short-term and long-term problems. Short-term, United have been putting too much emphasis on single footballers to make a difference, namely Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie. When Rooney isn’t playing, or is having a rare below-average performance, the entire Manchester United side looks like a different team. Van Persie has a different impact on the team when he plays. His clinical goal-scoring ability makes a profound difference on United when he isn’t injured.
When neither of these players are playing or are in form, the remainder of the team are unable to raise the bar.
Long-term, Manchester United’s issues are more numerous. Namely, here are the 10 mistakes that Manchester United have made in the Sir Alex Ferguson to David Moyes transition:
1. Ferguson papered over the cracks of a weakened side. Despite winning the 2012/13 Premier League title, Sir Alex Ferguson has papered over the cracks of a team for the past 2-3 years. Instead of pushing the Glazer family to bring in better talent from the continent, Ferguson has used all of his connections and man-management to get the most out of his squad without spending large sums of money in the transfer market. Lets us not forget that Ferguson brought players back from retirement or were on their last legs to fill holes in this side. Paul Scholes and Henrik Larsson are just two examples.
The reality is that Ferguson handed Moyes a side that was in much need of rebuilding.
2. Ferguson hired a mirror image of himself. Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to personally recommend David Moyes as the manager to replace him was a mistake. Instead of hiring someone who had a better or different skill set, Ferguson selected a fellow Scot with a fiery temper. Both men were brought up in the same area of Scotland (Glasgow), and had a mutual respect and understanding of each other. By recommending Moyes for the job, Ferguson selected someone that was — at the time of hiring — a safe bet.
3. Moyes removed Ferguson’s backroom staff. By letting Manchester United coaches Rene Meulensteen, Mike Phelan and Eric Steele leave United, against Sir Alex Ferguson’s advice, and bringing in his own Everton coaching staff including Phil Neville, Manchester United had no comfortable transition from one manager to the next. All of the expertise and inside knowledge of Meulensteen-Phelan and Steele was immediately disposed of, and a new team was brought in with new ideas. Ferguson’s legacy and system was destroyed in one fell swoop.
Moyes could have still brought in Neville and his fellow coaches from Everton, but expanded their responsibilities, without getting rid of the previous coaching regime that Ferguson had built.