Last season, Manchester United last three games at home en route to the Premier League title, and while few expected David Moyes to replicate the success the Red Devils experienced under Alex Ferguson, United have last four of their first 10 games at Old Trafford this season. (Photo: Getty Images)

Report: Manchester United players rumbling (again) about David Moyes


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.

(MORE: Manchester United fans to fly “Wrong One-Moyes Out” banner over Old Trafford on Saturday)

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.

(MORE: Manchester United stars reach deal to buy Salford City FC)

“Overweight” Costa comes to Mourinho’s defense

Diego Costa, Chelsea FC
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Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.

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Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”

Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:

“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.

“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.

Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.

[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]

Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

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Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.