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Mentally soft? Don’t do it Dave!

Following United’s dismal 2-2 draw with Fulham, yet another occasion when points have been dropped against one of the worst teams in the league, David Moyes claimed they were mentally soft.

“Today was as bad as it gets,” he said. “How we didn’t win, I have no idea. It’s goals that count. You can have as much possession as you like … Even when it was 2-1 and they put five minutes (of added time) up Fulham never came up the pitch, they left us with the ball. So it was nearly a case of just playing out time and we gave away a diabolical second goal. If we had one failing it was that we should have gone to win 3-1. You could use maybe mental softness that we didn’t see the job out and get the job done. I would agree with that … It was never one (way of attacking) … If you’re just going to look at the stats and think about the crosses you need to think about the number of passes and I don’t think we just went out and crossed the ball. Some people might say that one of the things that Manchester United do is play with width and cross the ball, that’s in the genes here.”

Whilst not taking blame away from the players, because they do have to take their fair share of criticism for our current position, to suggest that this group of footballers, the champions of England, are “mentally soft” and blaming that for the defeat, is ridiculous. Amongst the 14 players on the pitch for us today there was a total of 37 league title medals. These players aren’t mentally soft. These players are champions. They are winners. We can’t underestimate the impact Sir Alex Ferguson had on this mentality but it is ingrained in them and if they aren’t winning now, which they aren’t, and Moyes wants to argue their mentality isn’t right, then that is a failing of his. If he believes that these players, the champions, are mentally soft, what does he think is the cause of that?


About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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445 Comments

  1. Dan Young says:

    look at the tactics in this u21 game!. always 3/4 united shirts passing between eachother, never giving the oposition the oportunity. our line-up is a 4-1-5. the only players that have any instructions on their positioning are the back 4 and ben pearson. then infront are 5 players with free roam that all have a chance to score tonight. if the opposition does get the ball they get hunted down by everyone and give the ball back to us either by being tackled or smashing the ball up pitch to our centre backs.

    how iv missed this from united shirts.

  2. Dela says:

    @DeGeaWeTrust

    Ye man I know how close we came at times and often if it wasn’t for lucky breaks we would have been in trouble, I think our luck ran out in 2012 as much as a mental drop to be honest. Basically, the way I see it is this… say you have a 8 point lead over another team, and then all of a sudden you go into a game you expect to win and instead, you lose. It’s OK, it’s just 5. It can’t happen… right? Next game… you throw everything at an opponent but they keep coming back… can’t happen… but it does.. you draw… now it’s 3 points…. Now your next fucking game is your rival who when previously met in the league you got hammered by….. it can’t happen, can it? That’s exactly what happened to us in 2012… and in some ways it was unlucky.. like with how the City fixture was conveniently the last in that run..

    But that’s how it happens, it’s how it always happens. This United side isn’t used to being really below 2nd. Many of those players are used to only ever having to fight to climb ONE place in the table or fend off an opponent directly below. This season, even after they beat Arsenal and we were all so ecstatic.. when we looked at the table, it was still shitty looking, something United just aren’t used to. We fell away and then suddenly Europe became the priority no matter what Moyes said at the time. In a lot of ways they are being tested far more than ever now, they aren’t used to having to scrap for a place… by the end of most of their season there was 2 teams in the running and they were one of them. This is, in some ways, new to them and they just can’t do it, they look like a beaten team, a team that has given up.

    Unfortunately I have to liken it to Liverpool after they won the league cup that time and secured Europa League qualification. The had very very little chance at finishing top 4 and the players knew it so they didn’t even put up a fight for it. United, unfortunately, seem to have given up on salvaging anything now. They can attack, force a team back but the second they come under a counter attack, you can feel it, you can see it in their response they just panic. It’s horrible to watch really.

    I’m under no illusions, all of this is on Moyes’ shoulders, he’s the boss and that’s the way it is. He’ll need to sort it out or else eventually he will lose his job. The only difference is I can remember that we just lost the greatest of all time AND I don’t deny our squad has been problematic and even has reacted badly to pressure in recent seasons too.

  3. midfield-man says:

    dannysoya LOVES USAIN BOLT says:
    Seriously we need to get Jesse Lingard and Perreira into the first team ASAP

    Yes, we should have brought them into the squad in January along with Powell. But that would require some change of mentality.

  4. DeGeaWeTrust says:

    Gary – or worse, remember the double winning season of 96, didn’t they blame the 3 1 defeat on the infamous grey kit, their reason? they could not see each other and changed to their blue and white kits second half. Or worse, the following year united lost 5 0 to Newcastle, and 6 3 to Southampton. And these teams won back to back titles, and an FA cup

  5. NBI Red 21 says:

    Lets remember pride comes before a fall, Liverpool were too proud to fire Souness, to reluctant to admit they got it wrong, they waited to long and look what happened to them. Please please fire Moyes by summer at the latest.

  6. NBI Red 21 says:

    Look we all know the only thing Moyes is going to do with our youth is sell them or loan them unless they have a dad and talent like Januzaj. Let’s face it, he stays our under21′s are screwed.

  7. DeGeaWeTrust says:

    Dela – my mates friend said this on Facebook about the Moyes appointment – Moyes’ appointment is surely up there with les reed, steve wigley, chris hutchings and tony adams as one of the most ill judged appointments in prem history. Now that is grim reading

  8. Gary Mitrovic says:

    DeGeaWeTrust, so what if they won the double in 96? Like you say they lost 3-1 to relegation candidates Southampton and were 3-0 down at half time. Mentally weak mate. Don’t let anybody tell you any different!

  9. midfield-man says:

    @NBI, i’m afraid we’ll have to wait until the end of next season to see how things pen out. After giving Moyes a 6 YEAR contract, they’d be too proud and be too scared to look like fools for doing so to let him go first season. He’ll be allowed to build whatever he thinks he needs in the summer and then I’ve we’re still shit by mid season next year, I could see them letting him go, but if we even make it into the top 4 next year, I could see them keeping him even then.

  10. tallestreD says:

    @Gary Federer is a tennis supremo. He is class. Tsonga beat him because it was just his day, nothing to do with mental weakness.

    When a team concedes late equalisers or late winners, what do you call them?

    As we all have agreed majorly all fingers points at Moyes, and so too the players should shoulder some responsibility.

    DeGeaWeTrust calling SBC an idiot just shows how fickle you are. I don’t like insulting people so I’ll just leave it at that.

  11. Dela says:

    @DeGeaWeTrust –> Well let’s hope your brother isn’t right then ;-)

    @tallestreD

    “When a team concedes late equalisers or late winners, what do you call them?”

    And especially when you KNOW its coming before it happens.. who here didn’t see it coming as soon as we gave the ball away?

  12. midfield-man says:

    honestly, at this point with the way we’re playing, i’m just expecting we’re lose no matter what the opposition and be pleasantly surprised when we win.

    I want us play exciting attacking football vs winning more.
    Most pleasant on the eye right now are Liverpool. They play with aggressiveness, urgency, self belief, and mix it up when it comes to attack – Sad times.

  13. slim says:

    i disagree. only way to play them is for them to grow together, fail together., succeed together. They’ll play in one or more types of formation. i don’t care which. So long as they play the game the right way and in the proper spirits then i’m gravy.

  14. Gary Mitrovic says:

    Tallestred, what do I call teams who conceded late equalisers or winners? There’s one thing that springs to mind – mental weakness.

  15. Orez says:

    DM doesn’t look like a guy who believes in himself. The atrocious results that we have been getting is absolutely because of him. I don’t care what is it: “His tactics”, “His preparation or selection”, “his purchases”, “his…”. It’s “HIS”. The buck stops with the manager. Any manager in any other top club would have been sucked. Can you imagine Bayern or Real or Barca or Rent Boyz or Shity becoming such a laughing stokes after being crowned champions. Any manager would have been slaughtered and DM-s saving grace is that he is British. That’s it. Just like with players British players get a pass. Jurno’s are writing how “Moyes needs time”, “he needs to change tactics” the fact is he is incompetent. He is not a good manager, he is “shit” and this is fact. When he was just appointed I asked “what’s his philosophy?” what is success under him? Now people are talking about it more and more, so now I am calling it. He will never be able to get us where we need to be. Moyes will never succeed in Man Utd. The only question is how much will we allow this to go. Once again I don’t need to insult him, but he is going to be a failure in United. There is no hope for him to succeed so just keep up and prepare for suffering.

  16. midfield-man says:

    Orez, the other thing is the players know he hasn’t won anything, and any instruction he’ll give will be second guessed of whether he knows what he’s talking about. With the miserable start we’ve had, even if he wanted to change tactics, the players lost all self believe and it’ll still be bad, no matter what.

  17. NBI Red 21 says:

    @ midfield – man- the most terrifying thing is that they may not sack him in summer. That is the transfer news I will be waiting for most. Drop the pride United, get rid of the danger moyes.

    By the way United played 81 crossed highballs to 2 by Fulham.

  18. midfield-man says:

    It’s like taking finance advise from a man who just filed for bankruptcy. Why would the players have any confidence in a man who hasn’t been able to win against top 4, forget about winning titles or being renounced for evolving style of play.

  19. NBI Red 21 says:

    Come on guys, when we were at school and University, everyone knows who the good teachers are, they teach well and they have authority. Then you get the muck that gets by. If we knew that as kids. don’t you think United players know Moyes is shit. They have had the best teachers and they have also had international managers and some had great managers at other Clubs. They know when a manager is not good enough.

    @ midfield-man – I would say the player know he has not won anything but also know he cannot win anything. David Moyes will never win anything in England. Even if you gave him Chelsea or City to take over he would never win. A loser got the job.

  20. DeGeaWeTrust says:

    tallestreD – well if anyone thinks that appointing Moyes ahead of a mourinho was a wise decision, they really are not good at their job, are they?

  21. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Slim – I’m hugely optimistic about the younger players breaking through.. There’s adnan januzaj who’a already in the first team and developing well, then there are nick powell and lingard who surely are very close but need to be integrated as soon as next season.. They have the quality and the vibrancy united really need in this,so called transition, there are more like angelo henriquez, perriera, pearson, rothwell etc.. They all have quality but the manager has to implement the right system to get them playing to their best and qualities. What we are seeing under moyes won’t help the younger players.

  22. midfield-man says:

    Like you said, do United swallow their pride, and admit that giving ANY manager, let alone MOYES a 6 year contract was the stupidest decision ever. Now that we’re out of the CL, we need someone who will attract players based on their stature. Every player will no doubt expect our troubles to continue next season with a high probability of us not making the CL again, and that will present a huge problem for attracting top talent this summer, MU or not.

  23. NBI Red 21 says:

    @ Orez – “Any manager in any other top club would have been sucked.” – maybe this is what Moyes is waiting for?

  24. midfield-man says:

    @samuel, Lingard should have started when RVP and Rooney were out. He made the bench, but that’s it. He’s got passion, speed, and a great shot. was really hoping to see him play around that time.

  25. tallestreD says:

    DeGeaWetrust is that your basis for calling SBC an idiot?

  26. NBI Red 21 says:

    We are out of both CL and Europa League but above relegation zone and stock value is laughing as we are a….

  27. dannysoya LOVES USAIN BOLT says:

    Another thing that a lot of us have not pointed out is that our defensi ve solidity has gone to shit since Moyes took over and he was supposed to be a defensive guru. I mean Everton’s good play this season has been built on the rock solid defense they have that Moyes created with basically nothing in terms of financial support. IO would have expected that our defense would be much tighter this year than last but alas it hasn’t happened that way.

    Can you remember when I told you Chris Smalling is liable to commit at least one fuck up per game? Please go and watch the build-up to the second goal and see Chris Smalling’s defensive positioning when we lose the ball. NO EYES on his man, allows the attacker to break free without making any effort and that leads to the shot that DDG has to palm right into Bent’s path. Phil Jones and Jonny Evans cannot return soon enough.

    Nemanja Vidic. SIGH. Maybe it might not be so terrible after all to see him leave. I’ve never seen Vidic make the rookie mistake that he made in the build-up to that second goal yesterday. What happened to skyrocketing the ball 50 yards down the pitch? He did it nearly every time he had the ball against Stoke so why all of a sudden when it was needed THE MOST did he decide to head the ball into the path of an onrushing attacker when Carrick was clearly not ready for the ball? Patrice Evra as usual, is a liability defensively as we will see against Arsenal on Wednesday when Oxlade-Chamberlain tears him to shreds and Rafael really needs to get going. We are seeing glimpses of the old, immature rafael again, rash challenges, stupid decision-making. Get your shit together. We need our defense to be up to scratch more than ever on Wednesday but with the way things have been going, I doubt if i’ll see any improvement. I hope i’m wrong.

  28. DeGeaWeTrust says:

    tallestreD – when it comes to his job, yea, it was an idiot move along with the board, especially when Chelsea are top, united are 7th. And the reason why Mourinho was not the right man is pretty lazy reasons from charlton, he was not the choice for ethical reasons. Not a bright reason, when you see the fortunes of both united and Chelsea. I am not calling Charlton an idiot personally, I am calling his decision along with the board, and the reasons why they were not interested in mourinho idiots

  29. samuel - united WE stand says:

    People can roll up whatever excuse for moyes but the buck stops with him.. The players mirror the image of the manager and if there’s mental fragility then they are only showcasing the characteristics of david moyes. The scot is restrictive and not willing to take risks.. His way at everton was pragmatic and unspectacular and the everton players he bought fitted into that, the likes of jagielka etc suit that but at united and the level united want to reach, moyes current image will not take united to the top.. Simple as that

  30. dugz7 says:

    I said on a post on here in July that we were fucked with Moyes coming in and he would take us down quicker than Liverpool fell off their perch I am being proved right ! there isn’t a single day when Moyes opens his mouth that I don’t cringe – I’m sorry he hasn’t got the big club mentality, skills or knowledge to do anything here ! I really think we need a Hiddink or someone of that mind set to save us – something is seriously wrong the lads, they just look knackered at the end of every game.
    I’m sorry if you disagree however he needs to go and we need damage limitation, if we don’t qualify for europe next year ( which is looking like we wont ) then we will struggle to attract certain players thats a fact , then we will fall even further.
    I can remember losing to West Ham early season when Mark Ward turned Duxberry inside out ( to be fair to Duxberry he slipped on the ball against russia playing for England that summer got hammered by the Uk press and never got his confidence back ) however whilst we weren’t very good in those days and I haven’t jumped on the winning band wagon our football was a dam sight better than it is now !! FFS please someone put me out of my misery and get rid of moyes and his clueless clowns, no disrespect to Phil Neville its his first coaching job a comparison of that is giving a 17 year old youth who has just passed his driving test the keys to a Ferrari

  31. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Midfield-man – lingard couldn’t get in despite young and valencia regressing faster than ever.. The lad showed quality in pre-season and I think that was enough to give him a chance to see what he could do.. He gets shipped off on loan and was birmingham’s best attacking dynamo by some distance, 5 goals and a couple of assists.. He has confidence, speed, guile, skill and is a top finisher.. I would sacrifice ashley young right now for lingard to get a chance.. Hopefully he’ll get a chance at some point. His contract is an issue though but as a united through and through, he would sign whatever contract placed in front of him but again, no movement with that. I just don’t want another exodus of younger top players. Andreas perriera alreasy wants to go pre season etc, need to give them chances like adnan has got…

  32. NBI Red 21 says:

    @ samuel – you know Moyes will not give Lingard his chance. No way. Probably chuck him on loan with Ole next year.

  33. DeGeaWeTrust says:

    Does anyone search on google every day, and type in sack david moyes to find any news, its maybe one of the biggest searches on google today LOL

  34. NBI Red 21 says:

    I admit I do it. It’s like therapy. After we lose playing like a pub team I type Moyes sack while drinking beer and stuffing crisps and chocolate into my mouth while trying not to cry like a baby. It’s good to know there are others.

  35. slim says:

    Samuel

    Yeah, Adnan’s performances would have sent signals round . I really do hope to see some of these guys promoted to first team squad. Training with the first team and getting some game time. Its high time we promoted some of our own and get them involved. These guys are hungry anyway and with experienced players around them it can only be win – win really. Lingard looked ahead of peers and made a total mess of the West ham defender at RB. Shrugged him off easily, always seemed to a get to the ball when it looked like he’d lost out. Very impressive stuff, looks like he’s still growing too, looks a lot bigger than last time i saw him play but his physique seems the same though so that progress on that front. perriera and pearson i keep hearing good things about.

  36. Fletch™ says:

    Samuel, It is fair enough to suggest players get more time, but to imagine a wisp of a lad like Lingaard is ready to bump Valencia is a bit of a joke surely.

    The difference between most of our youngsters at 21 and them at 24 is astonishing.
    You don’t see it unless you are at games. The term men v boys is what comes to mind, and is exactly what kept Arsenal back. Lingaard would be eaten alive.

    I understand the frustration and love to hear the banter, but lets give Moyes and Fergie some respect.
    Very few 21 yo’s are ready to play epl footy. Look at Ole Gunnars side. It is a championship side with a couple of aging EPL stalwarts towards the end of their days. THAT is the reason Zaha gets a game. Zaha beating Young or Valencia when fit, you’re having me on lad.

    Love the banter, but United haven’t lost much in developing youth. If Cole and Tunnicliffe and Cleverley arn’t going to make it, then don’t start assuming the next young buck is loads better.

    Look at arsenal. Send out youngsters all the time and credit to em. But those lads then get butchered for being injured all the time because their 20yo bodies aren’t up for the pounding.

    Don’t get me wrong, youth IS the reason I love United. Youth doesn’t get a sniff in teams with rotating continental footy managers like Mourinho. Terry? Already in the Chelsea side when Mourine started. the list goes on and on.

    Moyes has it right with Januzaj, bring him in at the right pace so he develops confidence like we did with all the others. Rooney got the same at Everton. Pogba? he was 17 when he refused to sign a contract that would have paid double what he got at Juve. He went to Juve because he didn’t want to be treated like an 18 yearold. Michael Owen has said for years he would still be playing if he came to United as a youngster.
    Same is true with Hargreaves. They got used up before they were 28 buggered with injuries that beset youngsters in this game.
    Very very few have the build of Rooney that can take it.

    Give the lads time, they will come on. Everyone has to show some patience here.
    Talk all you like, Lingard and Zaha loans are exceptionally good for both of them. Hope they take them well. But don’t sell anyone short by assuming that walking into a side at Birmingham or Cardiff makes them ready for United. A good loan, with lessens learned, is exactly what they need.

  37. NBI Red 21 says:

    New thread up.

  38. DeGeaWeTrust says:

    Now that is what you call a full our war debate on a forum/blog, war is ugly

  39. NBI Red 21 says:

    Not all loans are good. Sometimes loan moves can be a waste of time or mess up a players career – look at Macaeda, better off if he stayed at United.

    The one loan that really worked for me was Cleverly at Wigan under Martinez, Martinez made him look like a different player and when he came back he was on fire, after that, not the same player and under Moyes, quite shit.

    Spanish teams have B teams which means youngsters step into the first team more easily and retain the playing style and training.

    I would trust a manager like Martinez, Wenger, Ole or Maureen with a developing player but not half the managers around who don’t work to develop the skills we used to value at United.

  40. Fletch™ says:

    NBI “Not all loans are good” Too right mate. Luck is required. All we can do is hope. Martinez has done well for United youngsters. Hope for the same from Ole. Cheers

  41. Mark Reid says:

    It’s hard for Moyes to do anything else but play the wings there’s no midfielder capable of taking on his man.

  42. Jackie Poon says:

    One big reason for Sir Alex to suggest Moyes over Mourinho is because he is suppose to be less destructive of the two. Sir Alex was hoping that he would keep the back room staff. Hoping that he wouldn’t make unnecessary wholesale changes. Hoping that he would keep United British. Hoping that he would spend wisely. Hoping that he would be tactically astute. Hoping that he would be humble, as he should be among our champions.

    These are what we’ve hoped too. But we’re having none of it. Moyes is the exact opposite big time. Mourinho instead, would’ve shown respect and think of the big picture.

    Caring for the sake of our team is different from being glory hunters. We need to do something before we simply stood by while it sink further.

  43. Izham Ikram says:

    the worse case scenario is moyes stay…

    rooney, rvp, mata, degea, januzaj, jones left…

    young, valencia, cleverly, welbeck stay…

    with young our captain…

    our playing styles is one dimensional – just cross and hope for the best

    continue to fight for 10th or 11th spot for 20 years…

    all hail moyes…

  44. Jackie Poon says:

    Also for those who are still defending Moyes, come on….. It is not just the midfielders or defenders that we need either. We need a tactician and motivator on and off field.

    The day Moyes said we are not good enough, need 6-7 world class players, and went on to pay 28m for Feliaini, he killed the team spirit. Can’t you see the entire team is weakened on a daily basis? We pride ourselves blending experience and youth better than the other teams, where is that now? Self-believe is in every champions. Everyone who truly bleeds United is hurting now.

    Did you see that Moyes expression in that post Fulham interview?

  45. Jackie Poon says:

    Word has it that the reason Ole came into this league right now is to save our youth players. Epic if that is true.

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