Sacking David Moyes at this stage in the season serves no purpose, even if United find themselves in a position that is well below expectation. We wouldn’t be able to appoint a long-term appointment now, midway through a season, so it would just be a stopgap and therefore increase the instability behind the scenes.
Whether you think he definitely isn’t up to the job or you believe he deserves more time to turn things around, it is undeniable that at present, he is not doing well enough.
There’s always the potential for things to change and improve though, particularly when he has so many talented players at his disposal, but he said something after our draw with Fulham that really worried me.
“I just keep doing the job because I know that we’re doing the right job. We’ll do the same things, we’ll make sure things are right – prepare the players well and things will change I have no doubt.”
It reminded me of that quote which gives the definition of insanity as a person who keeps doing the same thing and expects different results.
As has been well reported, we crossed the ball over 80 times against Fulham, yet none of those crosses lead to a goal. 80 crosses and no goals. If Moyes’ response to that is to think we should keep doing exactly the same thing then that is fairly terrifying.
“We need our fortune to change, our luck to change,” he said. “There are definitely things in the games which have gone against us. We are not looking for excuses for it, but there has been some circumstances where a bit of luck’s been missing. On any other given day you would win the game quite comfortably. Anybody who watched the game the other day and didn’t think we deserved to win by a hundred miles knows nothing about it.”
We had 75% possession, we had over 30 shots and three times as many shots on target as Fulham. But did we deserve to win by a hundred miles?
Juan Mata and Robin van Persie combined well for the first goal but the second was a deflection. I remember the Fulham goalkeeper making one top save in the second half. We were the better team, no doubt, on the basis that we saw more of the ball and created more, but we didn’t batter Fulham. Their keeper had next to nothing to do.
“I thought their game plan was quite straightforward – get it wide, get it in,” Rene Meulensteen said after the game. “If you’re well organised and the goalkeeper is in good positions then, yes, it can be easy. You need a little bit of creativity and a bit of variety at times to open teams up.”
Meulensteen wasn’t alone though. The sections of the crowd that hadn’t lost the plot in anger were laughing at half-time at how ridiculous it was to keep seeing the team cross the ball and their enormous defenders head it away. It was so obvious that our tactics weren’t working.
Dan Burn, Fulham’s gigantic defender who was playing in the Conference two years ago, also gave his verdict on our tactics. “I was saying to the lads that I’ve never headed that many balls since the Conference!” he said. “At the end of the day I’m happy for them to play like that. I’m 6ft 7in so it helps when dealing with those sort of balls.”
Supporting a manager who is prepared to admit his mistakes and is keen to work on them is something all fans should be able to do. But if Moyes genuinely thinks that our performance against Fulham was good enough, that we genuinely deserved to win and that if we keep doing the same we will soon start winning, then fans are entitled to be concerned.
Still, if Sir Alex Ferguson is anything to go by, the managers aren’t always going to be entirely honest when talking to the press. Maybe Moyes feels like he is making himself an easy target if he admits he got it badly wrong against Fulham, the worst team in the league, at home. But if Moyes doesn’t start to change things around immediately, working out ways to include all of our best players in a formation that can see us start winning, then we’re entitled to doubt his suitability to manage the champions of England.