Manchester United boss David Moyes has come in for some major criticism over the course of the last season, none more so than after Sunday’s horrendous 3-0 home defeat to bitter-north west rivals Liverpool.
Tonight Moyes’ team has to attempt to overturn a two goal deficit against Greek champions Olympiakos to make the last eight of the Champions League.
The 2-0 first leg defeat in Athens was one of the low points of Moyes’ first season in charge of United and the Red Devils now have to rectify it at Old Trafford, in a game the Red Devils are favourites to win at odds of 8/15.
A lot of good managers have had turning points in their careers at big clubs, sometimes when they least expect it.
Moyes really needs one of those moments to come his way this evening. In seasons gone by there would have been few people writing off United at home in a game like this, even with a two-goal deficit.
However, under Moyes there seems to be nervousness around everything connected with the Red Devils. Long gone is that air of confidence and invincibility that Sir Alex Ferguson’s teams used to display.
The players now seem very apprehensive heading into big games and so do the fans, which was unheard of under Moyes’ veteran compatriot.
Everybody connected with the club now needs a lift and progression in the Champions League may just do it for the Red Devils. It seems that the players are badly in need of a performance to help the team finish the season in strong fashion and the fans are quickly losing faith with David Moyes.
Those that are not losing faith with the Scot seemed to have already lost faith in the former-Everton boss. A win and a place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League would be a major boost to Moyes flagging United career.
Everybody knew that David Moyes was a negative boss prior to his arrival at Old Trafford. The Scot was not going to change his personality just because he moved up the M62. Moyes’ Everton teams were assembled on a much lower budget than United’s, but they were always hard to beat.
Moyes has not even instilled that hard to beat mentality into the team, or any sort of philosophy it seems. United have struggled to beat teams at Old Trafford this season, which has been a fortress in the past 20 years or so.
Moyes was even criticised for his negativity and cautious nature while at Everton, so I do not know why anybody expected him to suddenly develop a flair for attacking football.
Moyes has some very good attacking players available to him in Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Adnan Januzaj among others, but he just cannot seem to mould them into an effective attacking unit.
Van Persie was the Premier League’s top scorer last season, yet he seems to be playing within himself this season for some reason. The Van Persie-Rooney partnership was not perfect last season.
However the pair somehow found a way to work together, when Rooney was not playing in midfield or on the wing that is. This season the pair seem to have very little understanding and that is a worrying sign for United.
The squad that Moyes inherited from Ferguson may not have been the greatest, but they had just claimed the Premier League title and should be doing better than what they have done this season. United still have a squad full of international players, yet they are struggling in seventh place in the table.
Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson were very bold at times and went onto the pitch like they were scared of nobody and nothing. Moyes’ needs to take a leaf out of his predecessors’ book and actually go out to win games.
Moyes time at Everton showed that his Toffees team drew far too many games and that is not good enough at United, in fact most fans of Everton would claim it is not good enough for them either. Moyes’ fear of not losing is overriding his will to win.
David Moyes is living in the shadow of Sir Alex Ferguson, but he has done a poor job with last season’s squad, plus Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini. United were gutless in the Liverpool game and they have to give their fans some hope for the future with victory tonight.
It is time for David Moyes to prove that he is not out-of-his-depth at Old Trafford and inspire a performance good enough to see off Olympiakos. If he cannot, then I am afraid he is definitely not the man for the United job.
Could Olympiakos be a turning point for Moyes at United?