January has been a dreadful month for United, probably the worst for a couple of decades in terms of the significance of games lost, full of defeats.
It started on New Year’s Day with a 2-1 defeat at home to Spurs. Four days later we lost 2-1 at home again, this time to Swansea in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. Two days later we lost 2-1 away to Sunderland the League Cup semi-final first leg. We were given a bit of a break when less than a week later we beat Swansea 2-0 in the league. Then we lost to Chelsea away from home, and then last night we were knocked out of the League Cup on penalties.
It’s not just poor form that has been consistent throughout this period but the reaction from the players full of chirpy soundbites. “We’ll stick together” and “we believe we can turn this around”.
It’s time for the players to stop talking. I don’t need to know how much they’re hurting. I’m not interested in hearing how badly they want to start winning. I don’t care what they think about the fantastic support they’ve been getting from the fans throughout this period. I want them to shut up and get on the pitch and do the things they’ve been saying they will do for weeks.
Ryan Giggs, January 10th: “It is a test of character but I am fully confident we will come through it and we will be okay. I have said many times over the years, the defeats and losses generate a bigger feeling than winning things. It sticks with you a lot longer. You have to react and you have to try and do something about it.”
Darren Fletcher, January 11th: “I’m a great believer that, yes, tactics, formations and certain players can make big differences but I think players’ attitudes, determination and character can count for more than that at times like this. We feel we have that character but it’s easy talking about it. We have to go out there and do it. We have to get back to winning ways and although we feel things aren’t going our way we have to turn it round ourselves. We are good enough players, we are a good enough team, we are at home and we can overcome anything.”
Rafael, January 13th: “We are the ones who have to take the responsibility. I don’t know why everyone is looking at the manager. It is the players who have to do the job on the pitch. We have to show our quality. People are saying United don’t have a good squad. We have to prove it is not true.”
Antonio Valencia, January 19th: “It is not easy for a new coach at a club used to so many years with Alex Ferguson on the bench. Patience is needed. But Moyes is a good coach and I am convinced he will improve our style and game before too long. It is normal that we should receive criticism. United is a team that wins titles. The squad is prepared for the pressure and I think we are heading for a big period of success.”
Phil Jones, January 20th: “If Chelsea are one of the best two or three teams in the country, then I think you have to say we can be right up there alongside them – our performance in the first half proves that. We’re not a million miles away, I’m telling you, but we need to stick together if we’re going to turn it around. Now we have to bounce back and we have an important game on Wednesday night.”
Tom Cleverley, January 22nd: “We can’t let it get our heads down,” he told Sky Sports News. “You have to feel for the new manager. He has had no luck at all. But we are not going to feel sorry for ourselves. We have to stand up and be counted. That starts with the Capital One Cup.”
Michael Carrick, January 22nd: “If we all stick together, I am sure it will turn soon. We want to play again as quickly as possible and Wednesday is another big game.”