Football is so often about consistency – consistency in performance and consistency in results is what wins titles and what better demonstration of consistency is there than Sir Alex Ferguson whom Manchester United employed consistently for 26 years.
We all know what Ferguson did and we all now that Moyes is finding it, quite understandably, difficult to fill his compatriot’s boots at present but if there was any words of wisdom Ferguson could impart, I wouldn’t wonder if that buzz word ‘consistency’ might pop up.
David Moyes has yet to play the same starting XI in two consecutive matches this season. Not once. At the beginning of a season you could say he was testing the water, giving everyone their chance to impress but now, in mid-February with more of the season behind us than in front of us, you’d have to question why the manager doesn’t know his best team yet?
Meanwhile, that kind of rotation can unbalance the team, as well as leaving players feeling dejected and less confident in their abilities. Yes, they’ve had their injury problems but that’s par for the course – I just wonder whether the team’s lack of consistency in performance and, subsequently, results could be coming from the lack of consistency in Moyes’ selection. It was just back in December that veteran defender Rio Ferdinand came commented on this very topic.
"This manager's a bit different in that he doesn't name the team beforehand," Ferdinand told BT Sport.
“You don't really get to know the team. The old manager used to give you a kind of a little bit of an idea if you'd be playing and stuff.”
"It's hard... it's hard to do that mentally because you spend a lot of nervous energy thinking 'Am I playing?' or 'Am I not playing?' and you're just going round in circles in your head and turning into a madman," he added.
I think Ferdinand hits the nail on the head here – the players are playing nervously at the moment, they lack confidence in themselves and it’s a vicious cycle in so far as when the fans and media criticize their performances the confidence drops even further and when they play without confidence the performances get worse and then comes the criticism again.
Moyes don’t appear to know his best team, the players don’t seem to know each other any more, the chemistry and fluency of the football has decreased dramatically and, incidentally, so has the level of performance, the results and, low and behold, the confidence of the team as a unit and as individuals.
You can’t play the same XI every week in modern football – no one is suggesting that – but you can try to maintain some degree of continuity and be consistent with your selections: if a player plays well, play him next week, if he plays poorly, give someone else a chance.
At the moment United lack balance and order and I believe that is filtering down from the lack of balance and order in Moyes’ team selections. So far the only the players can rely on is Moyes’ inconsistency.
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