Author : Akshay Ron
Sir Alex Ferguson asked the Old Trafford faithful to trust their new manager. How long will it last?
On May 8, 2013 an announcement was made to the footballing world. Sir Alex Ferguson was going to retire at the end of the season. Manchester United fans around the world were spell-bound, dumbstruck, they just did not know how to react to the news. He was no ordinary man, he was beyond immortal at the Theatre of Dreams, a man who commanded respect everywhere around the world, a man who was the pillar of Manchester United for 27 years, a man who had won them so much, the man who showed the world how to instill the philosophy of “the club is bigger than the player”, a man who’s last chewing gum was sold for almost 3 million in an auction. This is just a mere description I could give of a man who has a statue of himself outside old Trafford.
After the match against Swansea last season, his last words precisely were, “Your job now is to stand by our new manager.”
Sooner than expected, the news was released that another Scot was taking over at Old Trafford from Ferguson. All through these years, Manchester United fans always had Sir Alex to rescue them from the gravest situations. In the season of 2011-12, the one in which the squad was called as Sir Alex’s worst, we still managed second place and were mere seconds away from the trophy.
But then, now we have David Moyes and given the string of results this year, the trust which United fans had in Moyes has started waning. While the masses only recognized the departure of Sir Alex, they never thought of the side effects and the way it affected the staff.
David Moyes, like every other manager brought in his own backroom staff, most of whom were from Everton. But during this transition, Moyes made one big mistake. This was the just the start of the things that were to come in the near future.
Rewind ten years ago and you would know that Sir Alex bought a certain youngster by the name Cristiano Ronaldo. Today, he averages more than a goal every game for Real Madrid and is arguably one of the greatest players ever to have played the beautiful game. While many, including himself attribute this success to Sir Alex, it was actually a man behind the scenes who did the dirty work.
He trained Ronaldo to become the best player in the world. He taught Ronaldo what it takes to perform at the biggest stage. He taught Ronaldo how not to score every goal stylishly. He was none other than Rene Meulensteen.
Fast forward to today and you would come to know that early on after Moyes took charge, Rene Meulensteen left for greener pastures. This could be directly attributed to the departure of Sir Alex. Moyes, having brought in his own backroom staff, did not have a place for Meulensteen.
With Rene’s departure came the first mistake of Moyes. He had come to Old Trafford after managing Everton, a team which by no means reaches the expectations of Manchester United .
It was not hard to replace Sir Alex Ferguson; it was impossible. He had ruled the roost at Old Trafford for 26 years and even Jose Mourinho couldn’t have done with replacing him. To pass on such a big crown to David Moyes is too big even for the crowd to witness, leave alone what goes on in Moyes’s head.
As Moyes took on the center stage, not many expected him to win a treble in the opening season, but they didn’t expect him to claim just 7 points out of the first 6 games and suffer losses against Liverpool, West Brom and Manchester City.
The problems with Moyes have not been simple, but very confusing. While it may not seem to be a big problem on the face of it, deep inside it has been the root cause of Manchester United’s poor showing this weekend.
Well begun is half done, goes a popular saying. However, with Moyes, that didn’t seem the case. He began the transfer window on a quieter note as his counterparts around Manchester and London were busy working their socks off.
A £28 million signing of Maraoune Fellaini on deadline day does not seem to be a great way to start the season, does it? Added to this, Moyes’s lack of reputation around Europe made sure he lost out on signing Thiago Alcantara and Cesc Fabregas.
Rather than addressing the much needed concerns in the squad, Moyes went for a defensive midfielder who was not really the player we needed. We needed a proper, strong centre back, a left back to compete with Evra, and a box-to-box midfielder who could drive the team like Jack Wilshere or Luka Modric does.
The next mistake was the way he played his team. It was evident from the beginning that Moyes went in for a defensive approach and was not ready to take risks. The way Manchester City dominated United was something shameful and was uncalled for.
Why isn’t Moyes playing Kagawa more often?
His reluctance to play Shinji Kagawa was another thing that pointed out his incapability to play the way top teams in Europe play nowadays. Shinji Kagawa is a true trequartista and a real master of the pass, and is excellent in the final third.
However, in Moyes’s system he demanded more work rate, something which Kagawa does not really offer. This can prove why Young was played more often than Kagawa, even though he has been poor.
Now, this is what seperates great managers from those in the masses. They have the vision, they take the risks, they impose their own style of play that takes their teams the extra mile. Jurgen Klopp is a brilliant example of this.
Going back to the defense, his insistence on playing the old guard has the cost the team badly. Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic were once the best defenders in the world but now they are nowhere near that level. Rio Ferdinand is losing out against pacy players and Vidic is becoming weaker in the air.
David Moyes has come in and is expected to stay here for a long time but he must adapt to the Manchester United way of football and needs to get out of his Evertonian mentality. Else, Europe is going to be a far-fetched dream for the Old Trafford faithful.
Maybe, the lack of a managerial change in 26 years has propelled me to think this way of a new manager two months into his job, I still do respect Sir Alex’s words and will trust the new manager.
Let us hope Moyes makes his mark at Old Trafford sooner rather than later.