Is anything really wrong with David Moyes? Psychologist explains...

Michael Finnigan, a performance analyst who worked with Moyes at Preston North End and Everton, believes nothing has changed in the Manchester United manager.


David Moyes has cut a forlorn figure for much of his Manchester United career. He has overseen a substantial dip for a side crowned champions of the Premier League just last season having taken the Old Trafford reins from the virtually irreplaceable Sir Alex Ferguson.

He has proved as such, with Moyes struggling to exert his authority on a dwindling team suffering a hangover from the departure of their most successful manager but some of the blame attached to the former Everton manager has appeared harsh, having been handed something of a poisoned chalice by the outgoing Ferguson.

The form of Robin van Persie, namely, has been the catalyst for a season of constant woe and despair for Moyes, who has suffered the very harshest baptism of fire at Old Trafford.

But there is at least someone who believes in the United boss, with his former performance psychologist Michael Finnigan leaping to the defence of the beleaguered Scot who he worked with during spells at Preston North End and Everton.

"I know David Moyes," Finnigan said in an interview with BBC Sport. "I have not changed my mind about him one bit. He is absolutely awesome - but he is not the kind of guy you can just drop into a situation and expect him to grasp it all instantly.

"You have to give him time to get his arms around it and really understand it. That is who he is. Your due diligence would tell you that. I am pretty sure Everton chairman Bill Kenwright would say Moyes' first couple of years at Goodison Park were not easy because he was getting used to everything."

Finnigan is firmly of the belief that Moyes must stick to the principles that led to him being snared from Everton in the first place by United in order to achieve success with his new employers.

"You can stop being yourself and start doing what you think you should do, rather than doing what you are being paid for," he added.

"I know him well enough to know if he just does that, he will be fine. He is good enough to be there and deserves to be there.

"He must be absolutely clear that no matter what kinks appear, he is not going to be diverted from his path.

"These situations become a real test of leadership, character and faith in where you think you are going. You can't be running these big organisations and changing direction every five minutes. People don't respond well to it. People respond well to certainty."

Finnigan, who has also worked at Wigan Athletic and Bolton Wanderers, feels United must back their man and not deviate from the plans they have with Moyes at the helm and counts on several key members of staff at the club to give him more support.

He revealed: "There is loads of stuff former boss Sir Alex Ferguson, former chief executive David Gill, the Glazer family who own the club and current chief executive Ed Woodward can do.

"You are looking at those experienced leaders to help him take control at the helm. There are loads of things they can do in terms of conversations, their dealings with the media, the way they behave when they are in the stand, both directly and indirectly, that can send out that message.

"They can't change horses in mid-stream because the first one is not doing very well. It would contradict everything the Manchester United brand is supposed to stand for."

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch