Saturday 18 November 2017

Beleaguered Moyes has no reason to fear being sacked, says Ferguson

Alex Ferguson insists the club retain their full support for David Moyes
Alex Ferguson insists the club retain their full support for David Moyes

John Percy

ALEX FERGUSON has stepped into Manchester United's deepening crisis to insist that the club retain their full support for David Moyes and has backed his beleaguered successor to deliver a strong finish to the season.

Moyes has come under scrutiny after a difficult start to life at Old Trafford, with United out of the Premier League title race and both cups.

The former Everton manager was chosen by Ferguson to succeed him, but his first campaign at Old Trafford has been a struggle, with his team 14 points behind leaders Arsenal.

Moyes' hopes of securing a place in the top four are also under threat, but Ferguson, whose reign lasted 27 years, has reiterated his position is safe.

"I can never understand why clubs change managers so quickly," he said. "They (board members) must discuss the qualities of the manager they are going to offer the job to (and) you must look at his CV – the character, the philosophy he has, surely.

"Now if that is the way they have gone about giving the man the job, why don't they persist with it? It seems so stupid to me."

"There is no need to go down that road (of sacking managers). United can do anything. They have got that great philosophy and history, they will always do well."

Ferguson is holding out hope for a late United surge in one of the most wide-open Premier League title races in recent years.

"This year for the first time it really looks as if five or six could be involved, so it's a great Premier League," he said. "It's still not an easy league to win. I think the English game is the most honest and is the hardest league to win in terms of the competition you face. You can lose to anyone.

"You have to say Manchester City are playing so well, but the teams at the top at the minute must have a big chance. Arsenal have a big chance.

Then you've got Chelsea, Everton, Tottenham, who are starting to do well.

"United always do well in the second half of the season, so we've got a fantastic league and we should be proud of that."

Ferguson (right) has also insisted the responsibility is on Premier League managers to help prevent their players from diving, after admitting he had to take action at United. Ferguson was confronted with the problem during his final years at United when Cristiano Ronaldo and Ashley Young both sparked controversy by play-acting, while Moyes has endured similar issues this season.

Young and Adnan Januzaj have been accused of simulation in Moyes' first few months at Old Trafford. But Ferguson, who has been appointed as UEFA's coaching ambassador, believes the pressure is on managers to eradciate the issue.

He said: "It is an element of the game we don't like seeing. I have tried to address it myself with some of my players over the years.

"When Cristiano first joined us he had that dramatic action but he listened very carefully that you can't do that and he improved tremendously and has been an even better player because of it.

"We had an issue with Ashley Young last year or two years ago and he's tried hard to address it. It's up to the coaches, they have got to influence players that they have to be better than that. But it's not just in England, it's common in a lot of countries."

UEFA president Michel Platini, who appointed Ferguson, said statistics proved having an extra assistant referee behind each goalline – as happens in European competition, helped eliminate simulation.

He said: "The arrival of the extra assistant referees has removed a lot of these issues in the penalty area and we can see these in the stats from the Champions League and the other leagues that have introduced the extra assistant."

ELITE

Ferguson, regarded as one of the most successful managers of all time, retired as United boss in May after winning his 13th league title with United, will be chairman of UEFA's forum of elite coaches and also a member of the technical study group for the Champions League and Euro 2016.

Ferguson added: "It is an honour and a privilege to accept this role as ambassador for UEFA.

"With the experience I have had over the years I hope I can help young coaches in particular in an industry which is becoming more difficult.

"Young coaches have to be prepared to make sacrifices and time is not a guaranteed issue in modern-day football because it has become very much a results industry.

"The best chance they have got is to prepare for it. I took my full badge when I was 24 years of age and I thought that was the best thing I did to give myself a proper chance to be able to survive in football.

"I would also tell them not to change their philosophy but to believe in themselves and have faith in your own philosophy.

"It's also the sacrifices you have to make – ask any manager's wife exactly what sacrifice means because they are working all the time.

"They are at games, at training, they are coaching, but that's the sacrifice you have to make and you need to understand that when you start." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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