“I don’t know what we have to do to win. I thought we were extremely unlucky.”
Those were the words of David Moyes following Manchester United’s 2-1 defeat away to Stoke City on Saturday, and they brought to mind the words of the man he replaced in the summer.
In an interview with MUTV back in October, Sir Alex Ferguson said, “Every club needs a little bit of luck and hopefully we’ll get the luck.”
Well Sir Alex, so far, at least according to Moyes, that has not been the case.
There is a famous mantra that Ferguson used a few times during his own tenure – “The better you are, the luckier you get”. And it is fair to say that at the start of the season, United were not playing well enough to invite the luck when it was needed.
Their performances are now beginning to improve, with Juan Mata already showing exactly what you get for £37.5million, but clubs make their own luck, and Moyes should know that by now.
Yes they were unlucky to see Charlie Adam’s free-kick take a wicked deflection off Michael Carrick – who is developing an unfortunate habit for such things – and there was a decent shout for a penalty claim, but United had more than enough chances to put the ball in the net, and more than enough talent to do so with relative ease.
You do know what you have to do to win, David. You have to score more goals than the opposition. And that will come once Mata, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney develop an understanding that has the potential to be devastating.
But it will also help to have quality midfielders who will not arrive until the summer. That was a glaring weakness in United’s team for far longer than the last few months and it should have been rectified sooner, not by Moyes but by the man he replaced.
That both men talked of luck is interesting, and shows that even the best rely on the fickle hand of fortune in a game that thrives on such things.
But until Moyes’s fortune turns, he will have to ensure his side outscores the opposition, not through luck, but with the talent his front-line has in abundance, and the sheer bloody-mindedness they are going to need to overhaul Liverpool for that much-needed Champions League place.
image: © Jason Gulledge