David Moyes knew it would not be easy. But did he realise it would be this hard?
Perhaps we will never know…unless he is in the habit of publishing his thoughts just as his predecessor at Manchester united has done with great fanfare on more than one occasion.
But if the latest report detailing the apparent goings-on at Old Trafford is to be believed, the former Everton boss has a lot of work to do.
The story claims that certain United players “effectively retired when Sir Alex Ferguson did”, and that some disagree with Moyes’ treatment of Wayne Rooney – quite the opposite of the iron fist regime in place under the former boss.
The report also states that “confidence is shot at a club renowned for their flair and never-say-die spirit.”
If that is true – if the players really do no longer believe in themselves and in that previous all-but-inevitable fact that they would score eventually, that they would not be beaten – then Moyes’s job is only just beginning.
But perhaps the most important thing Moyes needs to do is separate the believers (in his methods, in him as a leader) from the non-believers.
Most interestingly, the Mail’s piece claims: “There is a feeling among key figures that some older players have been unable to accept change.” The implication is that Ferguson is all they have ever known and his departure has seen a drop in performances from some players.
This contrasts interestingly with the following claim in the same story:
“Some players are with Moyes, and some of the most senior members of the dressing room report that his training sessions are excellent.”
If the Mail’s report is to be believed, the United manager has a simple but considerable job to do. He must ensure every player is with him, that United is his team.
Perhaps it already is. After all, these claims are from one media source and there is little actual evidence within the bold claims.
And yet one thing is certain. United’s performances this season have not been good enough, and that has to change, be it with the current squad or following a substantial change in personnel both now and, to a greater extent, in the summer.
image: © Jason Gulledge