As he slumped in his chair on the flight home from Greece David Moyes would of been forgiven a rye smile. If he didn’t laugh he must surely have been close to tears. Not in his gravest nightmares could his tenure in charge at the Premier League champions have started so horrendously.
6 defeats in his last 12. Out of every cup bar a miracle. Breaking records left, right and centre albeit mainly the hoodoos many teams have suffered at Old Trafford. If it wasn’t a full-blown crisis it certainly became one Tuesday.
Ferguson could of put a list of managerial names in a big tumbler and had Joe Kinnaer, Berti Vogts or Big Sam “I’d win the double every year at a big club” Allardyce’s name been plucked and anointed the “Chosen One” I doubt things could have went any worse to this point. It truly has been that bad.
United have failed before and will fail again. Yet, under Ferguson and those who went before him failure, especially in Europe, was always tinged with a sense of desperation and characterised by a spectacular, dramatic collapse. With Moyes’ current incarnation failure seems almost accepted however, defeats resembling more a car crash in slow motion than the full on Formula One style implosion with Sky+ on x30 of the past.
Manchester United’s global brand has been built on this sense of adventure. Of a reckless abandon in search of success. Yet, against Olympiakos this was nowhere to be seen. Instead a cautious retreat towards their own goal took place.
Pointlessly passing it sideways across the back four without conviction before aimlessly launching it long into the channel towards no one in particular bore the hallmarks of an amateur side never mind a side intent on conquering Europe.
The flaws in this United squad have been well-documented and are their for all to see. Chris Smalling’s continued presence at full back and Tom Cleverley’s continued presence on the field are nothing short of baffling. Young and Valencia offer one of the blandest wide partnerships to pull on the red shirt in recent memory.
Under Ferguson these cracks were evident. Thumping’s off the new age City home and away and failure to traverse the group stage a couple of years back highlighted systemic flaws in the side’s make up.
Yet, as Ferguson himself has stated “success buys you power” as players know they can trust the man steering the ship. The undying loyalty found in his players as a result ensured blips remained as such before quickly being swept under the carpet.
Moyes unfortunately in the early days of his tenure doesn’t have such success to fall back on and widespread doubt in his abilities seems apparent amongst his players. Tuesday nights tepid display for one bore all the hallmarks of players downing tools.
If he is to recover from the ominous position he finds himself in Moyes has to ignore his instinct to be cautious and follow the attacking blueprint set before him. This isn’t a time to for the man in charge to stick when he can twist.
Unfortunately for Moyes though it seems only a matter of time until the cards he’s been dealt leave him bust.