David Moyes broke his silence over his sacking by Manchester United by releasing a statement on the League Managers Association’s official website.
On Tuesday morning the Scot was fired by the defending English champions after just 10 months in charge. Failure to finish in the top four in the Premier League was what ultimately cost the 50-year-old his dream job, although his shortcomings in the Champions League as well as in the cup competitions also contributed to his dismissal.
‘To have been appointed as manager of Manchester United, one of the biggest football clubs in the world, was and remains something of which I will always be incredibly proud’, he said. ‘Taking charge after such a long period of continuous stability and success at the club was inevitably going to be a significant challenge, but it was one which I relished and never had a second thought about taking on.
‘The scale of the manager’s job at United is immense, but I have never stepped away from hard work and the same applies to my coaching staff. I thank them for their dedication and loyalty throughout the last season. We were fully focused and committed to the process of the fundamental rebuilding that is required for the senior squad. This had to be achieved whilst delivering positive results in the Barclays Premier League and the Champions League.
‘However, during this period of transition, performances and results have not been what Manchester United and its fans are used to or expect, and I both understand and share their frustration. In my short time at the club I have learnt what special places Old Trafford and Carrington are.
‘I would like to thank the United staff for making me feel so welcome and part of the United family from my first day. And of course thank you to those fans who have supported me throughout the season. I wish you and the club all the best for the future.
‘I have always believed that a manager never stops learning during his career and I know I will take invaluable experience from my time as United's manager. I remain proud to have led the team to the quarter-finals of this year's Champions League and I remain grateful to Sir Alex Ferguson for believing in my ability and giving me the chance to manage Manchester United’.
Read the statement again. No mention of the players whatsoever, no word on their ‘hard work’ or ‘loyalty’.
This is a subtle confirmation that Moyes’ relationship with the United players was, to put it mildly, fractured, and that it did have a significant role to play in his eventual dismissal.
There have been reports all season that some of the senior members of the team did not like the way he managed, while the names of Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand have consistently popped up as players who stood up to the former Everton manager.
There have also been suggestions some of the players simply did not care about him or his instructions, as they knew that they were not going anywhere under his management. The likes of Robin van Persie were said to be so fed up with the Scot’s training methods that they wanted to leave in the summer.
Moyes had publicly denied that there were any problems with any of his players and had appeared in press conferences with Giggs, who is now in interim charge of the team. However, the statement following his dismissal by United only confirms that he had indeed fallen out with his players. There is no mention how hard the 2013-14 campaign has been for the players or any acknowledgement of how they have struggled.
Moyes says that “a manager never stops learning”, and that he will “take invaluable experience” from his time at United. Perhaps one of the experiences would be how not to manage top-class footballers.