Is Fergie to blame for United's midfield problems - not Moyes?

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Should criticism really be directed at David Moyes for Manchester United's midfield problems when Fergie has failed to deal with them since 2009?

For a man who supposedly hand-picked his successor with the utmost care, Sir Alex Ferguson really did very little to help David Moyes at Manchester United.

Yes, the pleasantries have been there: the moral support, the public votes of confidence and (perhaps) the words of guidance in private.

But in finally handing the reins at United over to a new manager last summer, Fergie neglected to help his replacement in one very specific way: he forgot to leave him a working midfield!

Indeed, the root of all United's current problems goes back to their inability to sign a new midfielder. Yet that is one area in which Moyes has had very limited control.

The Scot certainly didn't help himself this summer, when he led a misguided attempt to lure Cesc Fabregas to Old Trafford, while no one really knows what went on during the pursuit of Ander Herrera. But how can Moyes be blamed for not doing in one summer what Ferguson failed to do in four whole years?

That's right: Manchester United have struggled in central midfield ever since 2009, when Barcelona gave them a footballing masterclass in the Champions League final. That night in Rome, Anderson and Michael Carrick were United's main midfielders - with Paul Scholes coming on late in the game. What has changed since then?

Well, Scholes has retired - but Moyes was only left with Carrick and Anderson in the middle this summer. The other alternatives, of course, were playing Ryan Giggs down the middle, or Tom Cleverley...

As a result, the current Untied boss decided to entice Marouane Fellaini to Manchester, overpaying signifcantly in the process. And, so far, barely a penny of the huge transfer fee has been repaid.

But what did Ferguson do to address the problem all those years ago?

Nothing, pretty much. The Scot's overall success at United has been unquestionable over the years but, since 2009, Fergie's only answer to the evident issues in midfield was to coax Scholes out of retirement in 2012 - a whole three years after the problem was not initially addressed. In that time, not a single world-class central midfielder has been signed.

Ferguson's solution proved to be an extremely short-sighted one, with the United legend only lasting a further season and a half. And, most importantly, Scholes' small stint back at Old Trafford has done nothing to help Moyes.

But what makes Ferguson's decision to opt for a Scholes return even more bewildering was the fact that he had a viable alternative in promoting Paul Pogba to the first team. Pogba has since left United and is flourishing at Serie A leaders Juventus. What United would give for a midfielder like that right now.

So, while Moyes deserves plenty of criticism for his torrid start in Manchester, let's not blame him for someone else's mess. Especially when it's Fergie's.

image: © http://www.flickr.com/photos/birdies-perch/

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