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No results, no experience, no future – Moyes must go


Manchester United manager David Moyes

Manchester United manager David Moyes

Michael Regan/Getty Images

Manchester United manager David Moyes

Calling for David Moyes to be replaced isn't an over-reaction. It's not a sign of impatience either. Nor is it a failure to appreciate the difficulties of succeeding Alex Ferguson or a lack of understanding of the history of Manchester United. It's based on the only conclusion to be drawn from what we've seen of him so far – that he's simply not up to the job.

Moyes is not solely to blame for the crisis at Manchester United. He has had no control over the injuries to key players, how the club is being financed or the transfer activity during the years preceding his appointment. He wasn't helped either by the club's stuttering performance in the August transfer window or by the individual performances of some of his players.

However, the argument that things would be the same no matter who was in charge is not true. What has happened can't be dismissed as the inevitable consequence of Ferguson's departure. Moyes has made too many of his own mistakes for an argument like that to be anything other than a cop-out.

His CV was always going to make it hard to motivate a squad like United's but it will be even more difficult for him now. Under his guidance the club has fallen from Premier League champions to Europa League hopefuls in eight months, despite the emergence of Adnan Januzaj and spending £65m on new players. Dressing rooms are ruthless places, and if he wasn't questioned at the beginning of the season, players will certainly be questioning his methods now.

You'd have to assume Nemanja Vidic isn't the only player planning to play elsewhere next season. Every player in that squad was sold a vision by Alex Ferguson when they signed but it's been smashed to pieces this season. A change in manager may be vital in keeping hold of some players.

And what about bringing new players to the club? It will be more difficult to attract top players if there is no Champions League football to offer next season so the pulling power of the manager becomes far more important. Players are often swayed by the charisma and ambition of a manager, but few would choose Moyes ahead of his competitors. Replacing him could at least bring some hope for a change in fortunes.

The most optimistic outlook for Moyes is for United to finish strongly in the Champions League and rebuild from there, but the club is in the hands of a manager who has never been at this level before let alone been a success. In any case, his approach last weekend against bottom-of-the-table Fulham at Old Trafford suggests there is little hope of progress in that competition.

The board should be privately discussing alternatives already. Publicly support him, privately plan to replace him. If it takes until the summer to decide then so be it. If they have to wait until then to get the right man then that's what they should do. Removing him so soon into a six-year contract won't be cheap but the greater costs will only increase the longer he stays there.

The club took a punt that what worked well at a relatively small club with little resources and low expectations could be put to good use at Old Trafford. They chose a man with no experience of working in the Champions League, no experience of managing superstars, no experience of motivating champions and no experience of achieving anything near their level of success. They chose a man who has never reached the standards demanded every year at Old Trafford. It has gone exactly as you might have expected, with the possible exception of how quickly it has all unravelled.

When United fell from nine points to 11 points behind fourth spot on Wednesday night, Moyes was asked to assess United's hopes for the remainder of the season. "If there is one club who have been great at winning games in the second half of the season, and putting pressure on the teams above, it is Manchester United," was the reply. It was telling that his reasons to be optimistic are based on the achievements of others before he arrived.

The case for persevering with Moyes rests on abstract notions like the virtues of time and patience but it includes little reference to what he brings to the table himself.

It only sounds plausible when external factors beyond his control are brought into play. The job is difficult, yes, but keep the conversation on Moyes' credentials and the decision facing the United board becomes a little more obvious.

All United's problems won't be solved by his departure but they certainly won't be fixed by keeping him there.


Sunday Indo Sport