The journey has not been smooth for the anointed successor of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. David Moyes is feeling the heat already. At Everton, the Scot has had a poor reputation of failing in big matches against big teams; sadly, the trend has continued at his new club as well. Whether he can successfully withstand this canopy of pressure, will define his true managerial calibre.
Let us present the scenario in brief. 5 matches played, 7 points earned, 2 defeats and a draw – the stats hardly cheer you up, if you’re a Manchester United fan at heart. United looked toothless, bereft of confidence while playing against big teams like Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City this season under Moyes. The manager has blamed the tough fixtures for such poor results, but such excuses falls flat on his face, especially now he is the manager of arguably the biggest club in England. He has to deal with it.
United were simply awful against City on Sunday. For the first time this season and in many years, Vidic and Ferdinand were run ragged by opposition strikers, midfield helplessly surrendered to brutal spankings from Toure and Fernandinho, while the trio of Valencia, Welbeck and Young (why was he there at the first place?) looked fish out of water at the Etihad. Put it simply, United were outplayed and out-powered by their derby rivals and potential title challengers.
And this susurration of doubt (about Moyes’ ability) and likewise raft of genuine pessimism could reach its nadir on Wednesday, should United suffer their second defeat of the season at the hands of arch-rivals Liverpool. If playing the Cup game at home ground is seen as slight reprieve, Moyes’ record against big teams put that little bit of optimism to bed from the very onset.
And to make the matter worse, United will face the “unleashed-Luis Suarez” at Old Trafford. No one knows (not even Liverpool fans) what to expect next from the cheeky genius, when he returns from his 10-game suspensions. And if it turns out to be one-of-his days- then heavens forbid, be ready to witness that similar gurn on Moyes’ pallid face yet again.
Manchester United might not take this competition with utmost seriousness but pressure will mount on the shoulders of Moyes like an Albatross, should he fail to earn a victory against yet another big team. Losing to Liverpool twice in a season already is something hard to swallow, even for his own legion of admirers.