Manchester United New Coach David Moyes is facing a fight to prove he is the man to lead the team, following the latest setback in their crisis-hit season. While Moyes retains the backing of the board for now, it is understood there has been a mood shift in the corridors of power following the 2-0 Champions League defeat to Olympiakos on Tuesday. The Scot, who succeeded the legendary Alex Ferguson last summer, has already lost the support of a significant core of the champions’ fans and there is a fear within the club that their turbulent season could go from bad to worse over the coming weeks. United face three key home games in nine days next month – against arch-rivals Liverpool, the decider against Olympiakos and title-chasing neighbours Manchester City that could go a long way to deciding Moyes’ future. SEE MORE AFTER CUT>>>>>>>
Defeat to Liverpool would signal the end of United’s bid for a top-four finish, while an exit from the Champions League at the hands of the Greeks is looming large ahead of the return leg at Old Trafford.
Senior figures at United have confided they never envisaged such a disastrous season when Everton boss Moyes was hand-picked by Ferguson to succeed him last summer when he stood down after 27 years.
Although there was a recognition United had perhaps the third-best squad in the Premier League, no-one within Old Trafford predicted such a spectacular fall from grace from the defending league champions.
Moyes knows he must be more decisive in the transfer market this summer, following the calamitous events of his first window in charge, when the Reds missed out on numerous targets.
Should David Moyes be sacked as Manchester United manager?
YES or NO
It was felt within the club that his overly-diligent approach in assessing targets before buying them saw them miss out on players such as Thiago Alcantara, who left Barcelona for Bayern Munich. Against that backdrop, deals are already being worked on, with United hopeful of recruiting targets such as Bayern Munich’s Toni Kroos and Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan by the end of May.
The club’s scouting department, considered too ad-hoc under Ferguson, has been revamped, with the network of scouts all given iPads to connect to a central database on all potential targets. United’s US owners the Glazer family have set aside up to £200million to strengthen the United squad this summer, but whether Moyes will be in charge to oversee that expenditure remains to be seen.
Knocked out of the FA Cup and the League Cup weeks ago and with their pitiful title defence likely to cost them Champions League football next season, there are major concerns over the way the season has unfolded.
There is no appetite within the club to see Moyes go so soon, but with each defeat and every insipid display, there are fears that what was considered a blip – in what was always going to be a season of adjustment – has now become a spiralling decline.