Manchester United supporters turn on David Moyes and the man who anointed him, Alex Ferguson
Former United manager berated with expletive-laden outbursts from supporters complaining at the state of the team left behind on his retirement as well as his decision to anoint Moyes as his replacement
Alex Ferguson was subjected to the sustained fury of Manchester United supporters as Manchester City’s victory sparked a mutinous reaction at the final whistle.
With stewards deployed to prevent fans removing the 'Chosen One’ banner at the Stretford End – unveiled following David Moyes’s appointment as Ferguson’s hand-picked successor last summer – former manager Ferguson bore the brunt of anger from fans close to the directors’ box in the earshot of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and managing director Richard Arnold.
One supporter was also photographed being escorted away from the area close to Moyes’s seat in the dug-out by stewards after appearing to gesture for the Scot to resign.
Ferguson was berated with expletive-laden outbursts from supporters complaining at the state of the team left behind on his retirement as well as his decision to anoint Moyes as his replacement.
Moyes’s future is now likely to come under the microscope again, despite the ongoing position from the club that he will remain in charge to rebuild the squad this summer.
Midfielders Marouane Fellaini and Tom Cleverley were also targeted for criticism from the stands, with United greats Gary Neville and Paul Scholes dismantling the team’s performance in their role as television pundits.
Neville, the former United captain whose brother Phil is a member of Moyes’s coaching team, claimed the fallen champions are now suffering an identity crisis. “They [United] need to have a rethink about where they are going,” Neville said. “There is no pace and power going forward. At the moment they have an identity crisis.”
Scholes, whose expected appointment to the coaching staff at United following Ferguson’s retirement has yet to materialise, delivered a further condemnation of Moyes’s team by criticising the fighting spirit of the players. “When I was playing, we could be two or three down but we never felt we were beaten,” Scholes said. “Tonight I never thought we’d get back in it, even at 1-0 down.
“It is difficult for a new manager coming in because he needs time to get to know his players. He doesn’t know his best team yet and the players haven’t helped him because they’re not performing the way they should.”
United are now destined this season to record their lowest Premier League finish , with their previous low points tally of 75 now beyond the reach of Moyes’s team. And having suffered their tenth league defeat of the season against City, United have now posted their worst statistics during the Premier League.
But despite the criticisms of Neville and Scholes, Moyes insisted that he continued to shoulder the responsibility for United’s failings. “I take responsibility for the team, I always will do,” Moyes said.
“I think tonight we came up against a good side, we came into the game in pretty good form ourselves and we wanted to have a go at it. But I think conceding early put us on the back foot a little bit. You prepare the players, you warm them up, you do all the things to have them ready, but we just never started. It gave them a real big lift to get a goal so early on.
“But I don’t think tonight was in any way a lack of effort or lack of commitment from the player. In fact I thought they were fully there but in some areas we didn’t come up to scratch. The players are in their own way showing their own responsibility.”
United’s decline under Moyes this season has been alarming and highlighted by the heavy defeats against City and Liverpool. But the under-pressure manager admitted that Manuel Pellegrini’s City are showing the levels that United must now aim to emulate. “I think we played a very good side and it is the standard and level we need to try and aspire to get to at this moment in time,” Moyes said. “We need to play better. We need to come up a couple of levels ourselves and at the moment we are not there.
“Everyone knows this is going to be a job which is going to take a little bit of time to get the way we would like it, but that is the job and I recognise that. I recognise it is going to take time and I am sure if you are watching the games, most people who watch football would tell you that is going to be the case.
“I thought it would be a tough year for us, no doubt about that, but I hoped it would be much more competitive and closer to the top of the league than we are. But it [rebuilding] is under way. You don’t just suddenly change things around.
“A lot of other clubs have had to change and they have had to do rebuilding jobs and look at the time it has taken them to do that or get to a level of competing.
“We hope it won’t take us as long as some of those clubs have taken, but we have got a period of time where we are going to have to make sure we get to that level which we are not at just now.”