Wins against Olympiakos and West Ham led to a brief lull, but after Manchester City’s easy win over the Red Devils on Tuesday, the rumbling of discontent around Manchester United have resumed, with new reports out of England suggesting the management team that has steadfastly refused to reconsider David Moyes’ appointment is ready to reevaluate their decision this summer.
Mark Ogden at The Daily Telegraph has consolidated all the misgivings. According to his reporting, concerns about conservative tactics and training that overly emphasizes shape and organization have troubled a squad that sees the methods as undermining United’s attacking potential. Whereas management previously saw those critiques as embittered complaints from United’s aging, outgoing core, seven losses in the team’s last 18 games has Ed Woodward and the Glazer family reconsidering plans. Though ownership is still inclined to let their manager continue his rebuild this summer, the final seven games of the Premier League season may determine Moyes’s fate.
From Ogden’s post:
Having grown accustomed to ball-related training under Ferguson and coaches Rene Meulensteen and Mike Phelan, there is less enthusiasm for Moyes’s preference for more structured sessions centred on team shape and organisation and concern has also been expressed about a lack of continuity in team selection – highlighted by the surprise recall of Ryan Giggs to the team against Olympiakos last week and his subsequent absence from the squad in the following games against West Ham United and City …
Exasperation has grown, however, and Moyes is regarded as having few allies in the dressing room as he approaches the final seven league games of the season. But despite the concerns within the squad, Woodward and the Glazers believe that the current problems on the pitch are proof of the need to rebuild the team this summer – a job which they are backing Moyes to undertake.
The critiques run parallel to what many United fans have been saying since late fall. Moyes’s approach is too conservative, particularly given where talent is distributed within his squad. He still manages like somebody who needs to limit opportunities and rely on opportunism and opponents’ errors.
Under Ferguson, United seemed to create as many errors as they were given, something that made better use of one of the most talented attacks in the Premier League. It also left them better situated to manage the big games Moyes has been so woeful in contesting this season. Carrying over a lack of success that kept Everton from winning at Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool or United under his watch, Moyes remains unable to find ways to beat the Premier League’s top competition.
The Red Devils can wait for Moyes to get new players in, but management must also ask: How likely this leopard is to change his spots? After 14 years of management, we have a pretty clear idea of what Moyes is. After seven months of this season, we also have a better idea of what he is not. Woodward and the Glazers should get some commitment to change before they persist with their commitment to Moyes.