Whilst the big news in Manchester suddenty is the sacking of City boss Roberto Mancini, as United fans recover from their parade celebrations, new United boss David Moyes will set to work on the huge challenges he faces next term.
Co-incidentally, one of the reasons Mancini was sacked, according to the club, was that he failed to meet expectations this term – most notably in the Champions League, which City exited at the group stages without a single victory.
David Moyes has done an exceptional job at Everton over his 11 years in charge at Goodison Park and his experience in the Premier League will stand him in good stead as he negotiates the perils of trying to replace the greatest British manager in the history of the game.
However, his lack of experience in continental competitions may be something that needs his attention as he takes the reigns at Old Trafford. United have a glorious history of European triumphs – under Ferguson they won the Champions League twice in spectacular fashion.
Moyes is a fantastic manager but he lacks the credentials, having never won a trophy in his managerial career. That doesn’t mean he can’t or won’t, by any means, but it is something he’ll need to address – he must hit the ground running as the expectations of a club like Manchester United are such that success is mandatory.
With the swathe of changes at the top in the Premier League, there is going to be a period of inevitable transition domestically next term and that will likely be the case for a number of elite clubs on the continent – Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, and Manchester City are all expected to make managerial changes imminently.
With all the superpowers of European football chasing the likes of Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Manuel Pellegrini, Jurgen Klopp, and Jupp Heynckes, who are presently passing their impressive CVs around town, the Champions League will likely be contested more fiercely than ever next term as new managers look to impress in their first seasons with their new clubs.
The Champions League is a competition where experience counts for everything – Manchester City’s failings this term are an apt example of that – and especially as the competition progresses to the knockout rounds, tactics, mind-games, and experience come in to play.
However, there is hope for Moyes – he only needs to look at the way Roberto Di Matteo won the competition last year with Chelsea to find hope and comfort.
Moyes will need to set his side up cautiously to begin with – there is little margin for error against such imposing opposition. Even Barcelona and Real Madrid were thoroughly embarrassed this term by their Bundesliga counterparts and English teams didn’t even feature past the quarterfinals.
European football is entering a new phase next term – the vast sums of money being thrown around the continent and the wholesale personnel changes being made at the top are likely to cause unrest and create more ruthless competition across the board.
Manchester United are one of the best clubs in the world and have been for well over a decade under Ferguson – David Moyes faces a very different landscape than his predecessor, however, and he is tasked with achieving the near-impossible against some of the best practitioners in the modern game with vast wealth at their disposal.
image: © andyjakeman