David Moyes focus: How the United manager fared in Cup semi-final defeat
Published 07/01/2014 | 22:09
Manchester United manager David Moyes found himself under the spotlight again for Tuesday night's Capital One Cup semi-final first leg at Sunderland following successive defeats to Tottenham and Swansea in their last two games.
Here's how the United manager fared as his side lost 2-1 for a third consecutive match.
Moyes' options were again limited significantly by the absence of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, but he was still able to make seven changes to the side beaten by Swansea in the FA Cup third round.
The return of captain Nemanja Vidic in defence was a no-brainer, while Michael Carrick and Adnan Januzaj were drafted in to bring control and flair, respectively.
Wilfried Zaha's appearance on the bench appeared interesting but that is where he stayed.
United's travelling fans were clearly keen to make a statement in support of their under-fire manager and wasted no time in wheeling out choruses of "David Moyes' red and white army" and "We'll support you ever more". Tellingly, they chanted just as loudly for the Scot during the seven minutes they trailed 1-0.
Vidic's equaliser found them in even better voice but Sunderland's second led to a stunned silence.
The breezy Januzaj was rightly given his head in the first half, with United seemingly steering every move his way whether stationed on the left or more centrally.
The long-term effect was a little predictable, though, and left Antonio Valencia a virtual passenger on the opposite wing.
Danny Welbeck looked isolated too often in attack and Moyes appeared unable to bring him into the game and unwilling to give him a partner
United's first change was forced, with Jonny Evans limping off to be replaced by Chris Smalling.
The second, with Sunderland 2-1 ahead, saw the defensively-minded Darren Fletcher summoned to replace Tom Cleverley. He had not enjoyed the best match but had just enjoyed his best spell of the evening when hauled off.
The only striker on the bench, Javier Hernandez, was confusingly kept on ice until the 87th minute.
Moyes walked to the edge of the technical area inside the first couple of minutes and barely returned to his seat.
Individual players were called over for advice when the ball was dead, but otherwise he spent the majority of his time with arms tightly crossed and a poker face.
A hint of visible exasperation crept in towards the closing stages as he pondered the consequences of a third successive defeat, and he was caught by cameras looking towards the sky in the dying seconds.