at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Another day, another problem to address for Manchester United and their imperilled manager David Moyes.
This time it was stories — quickly denied — of a falling-out with one of his coaches, Ryan Giggs. The United icon — so the rumour went — has grown frustrated with his role under Moyes and vented his dissatisfaction in the Old Trafford dressing room in the wake of Sunday’s limp defeat to Liverpool.
‘Ryan is absolutely fuming over suggestions of a falling-out with the manager,’ said a United spokesman yesterday. As it turned out, Giggs was jogging on the pitch with other unused players when Moyes and his team began their dissection of Sunday’s disaster. Even Giggs can’t argue down the length of a players’ tunnel and through a brick wall.
As one fire goes out, however, other burning problems do not go away for Moyes. Fresh from Sunday’s 3-0 surrender to Liverpool, Moyes must raise his team for tomorrow’s Champions League visit of Olympiacos. Then, on Saturday, is a visit to West Ham in the Barclays Premier League followed by the arrival of Manchester City a week tonight. If it sounds daunting for Moyes, that’s because it is.
In the directors’ box on Sunday, United officials looked on aghast as United succumbed, while in the corporate lounges, guests from the club’s top sponsors — invited especially for the day — must have wondered what the club have been spending their money on.
The official line from United is that Moyes remains in no immediate danger. The plan, we are told, remains a long-term one.
The United manager, though, is in trouble, and a succession plan will be put in place within 10 days if things continue to go badly.
On social network sites and fan forums yesterday, the groundswell of opinion against Moyes continued to grow. Even the more rational are beginning to tire of United’s insipid football and a manager who rarely seems to say or do anything to inspire confidence in his ability to reverse a downward trend.
However, the remarkable and prolonged support afforded United from the Stretford End during the last 10 minutes of Sunday’s defeat has worked in Moyes’s favour.
It was noted by the Old Trafford directors as a tick in a column of positives that was looking as empty as some of United’s performances.
What is abundantly clear is that nobody at United — apart from the odd disaffected player — wants to see Moyes sacked. What is also apparent, however, is that United will have to get rid of him if things don’t improve quickly.
As United fans and officials stare down the A580 at their resurgent Merseyside rivals, they can comfort themselves with the fact that, while Liverpool remain a big and important football club, United have grown into an international financial monster.
As such, the defending champions are in a position to throw millions of pounds at their problems this summer. The only question is whether they can — or should — trust Moyes to spend it.
Moyes’s United have a shambolic look about them and they are getting worse. Other Premier League coaches talk privately of unimaginative tactics and square pegs in round holes.
And the rumours may not be true, but it nevertheless remains the case that Giggs has appeared to be a rather distant, detached figure at Old Trafford of late.
Unveiled as part of the new world order when Moyes succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson last May, the 40-year-old has been increasingly less visible on the touchline and indeed as a player as crisis has followed crisis at Old Trafford.
One theory is that Giggs may yet be the next United manager — temporarily or otherwise — and is merely biding his time. That, though, doesn’t fit with what we know of a loyal United servant who, rather like his friend Gary Neville, takes every defeat, at whatever level, as a personal affront.
Schooled at the Cliff, Carrington and Old Trafford, Giggs knows that success comes in cycles. He hasn’t seen much like this during his 23 years at first-team level, though. Dressing-room arguments — real or invented — pale into insignificance when the team are 18 points from the top of the Premier League. – Daily Mail