Scotsman may need to embrace attacking gusto that made United famous…
The scrutiny over the management, selection policy, tactics and performances at Manchester United football club has ceased, for the moment, as club boss David Moyes obtained a crucial result yesterday evening when his side entertained Liverpool in the third round of the Capital One Cup.
The 1-0 victory, courtesy of a Javier Hernandez strike, has concluded a month that saw the Old Trafford side drop six points due to losses incurred when competing against fellow Premier League title contenders Liverpool and Manchester City.
The defeat to City was particularly painful as the club slumped to a 4-1 humiliation with the only offering from the touchline a Tom Cleverley introduction after 52 minutes, after all four of City's goals had beaten David de Gea.
During the game, United appeared pedestrian, seemingly content at watching the opposition with the ball while two substitutes were left unused despite Moyes having six options including: Luis Nani (who was entrusted with a mega money new contract a matter of weeks ago), Shinji Kagawa (who was kept in Manchester despite interest from former club Borussia Dortmund) and perpetual goal threat Hernandez all remained with their butts on the bench.
'[The criticism] is not frustrating because I will sort it,' said a defiant Moyes after the League Cup win, a triumph that now sees them into the fourth round; a home tie against Norwich City. He continued: 'I will fix it. I will turn it around. I have got no doubt about that.'
But just how will this turn-around take place? Will the Chicharito goal convince David Moyes he represents a significant threat, even if it is as a super-sub? Will Moyes acknowledge that the trickery of Nani can beguile defenders and create goal-scoring and game-changing differences?
And, now that there are many winnable domestic fixtures ahead - West Bromwich Albion, Sunderland, Southampton and Stoke City - will Shinji Kagawa be afforded the opportunity to play the role of midfield creator that United so desperately need?
'What have I learned?' Asked Moyes of himself. 'We have to improve. I am still getting to know the players. They are a really good team, they won the Premier League last year, but we need to improve.
'We lost at Anfield a few weeks ago; we had lost at the Etihad last week, so we wanted to put that right. I thought it was a really good game, an exciting game of football from both teams. What was important was that the whole club showed we were hurt by the game on Sunday.'
While Moyes has a collection of reigning Premier League players at his disposal, the roster he inherited was not without flaws. And, with the opening of the winter window still months away, he will have to rely on the current crop to return the club to the summit of the division.
Are United too over-reliant on Robin van Persie? Can Kagawa fill a creative gap in the midfield until January and is Moyes still the man to lead Manchester United forth? Let us know in the comment section below…
image: © little-pete