David Moyes on the brink as Glazers run out of patience
Questions at highest level over manager’s capacity to oversee €180m team rebuild
Manchester United manager David Moyes: under scrutiny since last month following the 3-0 loss to Liverpool. Photograph: Paul Thomas/Getty Images
David Moyes is facing the sack as Manchester United’s manager with owners, the Glazer family, and Ed Woodward, the vice- president, in discussions over when to end the Scot’s reign.
United’s 2-0 defeat at Everton on Sunday was the latest evidence to the executive that Moyes is the wrong man to lead the club and it is now only a matter of time before the decision is taken.
Should he go before the end of the season, which appears likely, United may put Ryan Giggs in temporary charge. The 40-year-old, who is player-coach, would command the instant respect of the squad.
Moyes has been under scrutiny since last month following the 3-0 loss to Liverpool. The chief concern for the board is how badly the side have played throughout the season, with little sign of improvement. Questions are now being asked at the highest level about whether he can be trusted to carry out a £150 million (€183 million) rebuild.
The club are intent on reshaping the squad in the close season and the discussions between Woodward and the Glazers centre on whether a new manager should be brought in to drive the process.
Commenting on the speculation surrounding Moyes’s future, the former United defender Gary Neville said: “I think the whole situation at the club right now is repulsive. The club really need to make a statement.”
When replacing Sir Alex Ferguson last summer Moyes signed a six-year contract, with the club determined that stability was the best policy following Ferguson’s 26 years in charge.
That policy is now in ruins, with deliberations already beginning over who should succeed Moyes. Borussia Dortmund’s Jurgen Klopp, Diego Simeone of Atletico Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain’s Laurent Blanc and the Holland coach, Louis van Gaal, will all be discussed as the next potential permanent United manager.
Dismal title defence
Moyes has paid the price for failings at most levels. Beyond a dismal title defence that has taken United from champions by 11 points to a side struggling to qualify for European football next season, are a series of off-field issues.
The prime one is how the 50-year-old has alienated many of the squad he inherited from Ferguson. Moyes has struggled to convince some senior players of his abilities and there have been numerous disagreements with others.
Over the past few days friction between him and Danny Welbeck came to a head with the striker unhappy enough to consider his future despite being a United supporter. This followed a disagreement in December. Earlier in the season Moyes claimed he had instructed Welbeck to stay behind for extra training, telling him to follow Wayne Rooney’s example.
Yet Welbeck subsequently questioned Moyes’s claim, saying: “I have been injured this season so maybe the manager has not seen me on the training pitch as much.”
Last week Moyes disciplined Welbeck, along with Tom Cleverley and Ashley Young for a night out in Manchester following the Champions League defeat at Bayern Munich.
While United had no game for 10 days before the trip to Everton – and the manager had given his squad three days off – the trio are thought to have contravened a rule they should not be out late within 48 hours of a game.
Further evidence that Moyes has struggled for control came in two episodes of indiscipline from Chris Smalling. Last month Moyes acted after the defender was photographed out in the early hours of Sunday in Manchester. This followed a transgression in January when he was forced to apologise for appearing to dress as a suicide bomber at a private party.
Moyes has also proved insular, even with those in his inner circle, with his coaching team not always sure what his thoughts are, and he can often be a distant figure to those who work at the club’s Carrington training complex.
Speaking to MUTV in the aftermath of the loss at Everton, Moyes said: “We want to finish by winning all of our games. We’ll do everything we can to make that happen.” Yet senior players voiced their dissatisfaction with the season. Rio Ferdinand, who was not in the squad at Goodison Park, tweeted: “Frustration & disappointment sums up the season so far.”
On his blog, Juan Mata wrote: “I feel very disappointed. This is how you feel when you spend two weeks waiting for a game, getting ready for it, and then things don’t go the way you wanted. It happened in Goodison Park and the truth is this is not the first time. I hate this feeling.”
With United in seventh place, 13 points from a Champions League berth, the hierarchy seem to have had enough.