David Moyes and Man United fail to inspire on and off pitch at Everton
David Moyes's out-of-touch post-match interview was the most worrying aspect of Manchester United's 2-0 loss to Everton
David Moyes waved goodbye to Goodison Park just under 12 months ago as an Everton legend, but the Manchester United manager reached the nadir of his Old Trafford reign on the blue half of Merseyside on Sunday.
The defending Premier League champions were abject. The Red Devils managed to conjure one shot on Tim Howard’s goal in the 89th minute despite having 61 per cent possession against Roberto Martinez’s much-lauded Everton side.
But the most disappointing aspect of the 2-0 loss to the Toffees – Leighton Baines and Kevin Mirallas, who are two players who owe a debt of gratitude to Moyes, scored the decisive strikes – was the United boss’s analysis of the defeat.
Supporters can take off days from players. Even Premier League champions aren’t immune to uncharacteristically poor performances, but it is Moyes’s continued attitude after disappointing results which is turning the United fans against him.
The 50-year-old talked about his side’s “great control” of the first half despite conceding two goals and failing to register an attempt on target. Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher rightly questioned whether he – and everyone else – had been watching the same game.
“We had a great control and we got done by two stupid decisions – a stupid decision to dive in front of the ball for one of them – two poor goals to give away,” said Moyes.
“I thought we played very well in the first half. We came in 2-0 down but had been passing the ball really well.
“But we didn’t have a final through-pass at times, we didn’t have a final finish when they came – there weren’t very many of them. That was the disappointing part, that we couldn’t do that bit in the final third.”
There are two conclusions from Moyes’s interview and neither bode well for his future and United: The Scot is drastically detached from the reality of the crisis that he is facing at United – or is deliberately trying to con his own supporters.
At other points of the season, Moyes has been too honest about United’s situation. Whether it be admitting that Liverpool were likely to beat United at Old Trafford – the Reds went on to win 3-0, or the Red Devils’ needs to aspire to Manchester City’s standards after a derby defeat.
“I think we’ve played a very good side and it’s the sort of standard and level we need to try and aspire to get ourselves to at this moment in time,” said Moyes in March. “I think we need to play better. We’re needing to come up a couple of levels at the moment and we’re not quite there.”
Putting to one side his questionable remarks in the media, another long-running criticism of Moyes is his lack of a clear philosophy. The United manager spoke about their ability to retain possession as he fielded four relatively similar players: Juan Mata, Nani, Shinji Kagawa and Wayne Rooney.
But lacking penetration, and ultimately, any end product, it is safe to say authors won’t be rushing to document Moyes’s masterplan in an attempt to knock the likes of Guillem Balague’s Pep Guardiola: Another Way Of Winning or Graham Hunter’s Barcelona: The Making Of The Greatest Team In The World off their perch in British bookshops.
The United manager’s lack of a clear philosophy – and a lack of plan B at Goodison Park – only served to further highlight Martinez’s impressive impact at Everton and ability to adapt, as the Spaniard ditched his possession-based style in favour of a direct approach which paid dividends.
Moyes lacks a touchline presence, too. Perhaps unnerved by the presence of the Grim Reaper at Goodison Park, Moyes appeared to spend a large chunk of the 2-0 loss on the bench. In contrast, his meticulous Everton successor Martinez was relentlessly barking instructions or tinkering with his formation.
Of course, the under-pressure United manager wasn’t helped by the Sky Sports coverage which inadvertently captured Moyes and his assistant Steve Round browsing through a laminated notebook entitled, ‘Set-Plays’.
Most worryingly for United supporters who have joined the ‘Moyes Out’ camp, the Scot appeared convinced that he will get the summer to ring the changes in that same post-match media interview. For most Red Devils supporters, it will be another example of how out of touch their manager is.
The 50-year-old was subjected to further humiliation on Twitter on Sunday night as #MoyesFilms trended on Twitter following the their 11th defeat of the season, and the majority of United fans won’t want to see through 500 Days of David Moyes.