The knives that had been duly sharpened throughout the summer finally began to come out after Sunday’s derby collapse. Having stepped into the most difficult job in English football, David Moyes’ first Manchester derby was the stuff of nightmares for United fans who watched on as their team was torn apart with mercurial precision by Manchester City.
The aftermath, inevitably, focused on Moyes. United have picked up seven points from their opening five games and while they went on to win the league six times when boasting a similar unimpressive record after the first five weeks of the campaign, it was the manner in which United surrendered to City that casted doubts over their manager and their future.
United were never at the races. The gamble David Moyes took by playing Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand for the third time in a week didn’t work out as United’s back four, already hampered by the loss of Rafael, tilted and then faltered under the weight of City’s attacking force.
Marouane Fellaini failed to provide the sort of presence United had hoped he would offer when they splashed £27m on deadline day, while the likes of Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia did nothing to quell the feeling that they’re not United quality and the absence of Robin Van Persie was sorely felt up-front.
While Moyes can’t shoulder the blame for the abject performance of his players, nor can he be blamed for Van Persie’s injury, the United manager does, however, need to become less cautious if United are to succeed this season.
Stepping into Fergie’s shoes was never going to be an easy task and, rather understandably, Moyes has relied on players he already knew – or thought he knew – and on a system very similar to Ferguson’s. A safe start with a view to gradually mould the team to his image must have sounded a much more sensible proposition than a drastic change to the former Everton manager, but his philosophy so far has failed to pay dividends as Moyes’ cautious approach translated onto the pitch.
The prudent approach has obviously not worked and Moyes could do worse things than throwing caution to the wind in the next five league games.
Shinji Kagawa might not be the saviour some United fans consider him to be, but he’s an infinitely better option than Young, while the decision to pay Nani £95,000-a-week could be made to look increasingly ridiculous if the Portuguese remains sat on the bench instead of being on the pitch.
Marouane Fellaini had a game to forget against City and it’d be premature to judge the Belgian based on Sunday’s performance as his United career is still very much in its infancy and the former Everton man could still become a crucial figure for United, but he can’t be the creative spark United have sorely missed this season.
Judging Moyes’ tenure five league games into his first season at the club is utterly ludicrous and the large majority of fans will back Moyes but a bolder approach is a must.
At Manchester United, losing without even trying is simply intolerable.
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