Moyes pays for self-inflicted blunders

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David Moyes disastrous reign at Manchester United came to an end when the United board showed the Scot the door. Picture: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

David Moyes could probably quote a list of excuses explaining why he failed at Manchester United but ultimately it was a series of self-inflicted blunders that led to his dismissal after less than 10 months in charge of the outgoing English champions.

Having been hand-picked by Alex Ferguson, the first thing Moyes did when he arrived at Old Trafford was to remove his fellow Glaswegian's entire backroom staff, men who represented the mortar between the bricks in an unprecedented haul of silverware.

United made a promising start, winning 4-1 at Swansea on the opening day of the Premier League season after a 2-0 Community Shield win over Wigan, before Moyes soon promoted Ryan Giggs to an assistant coaching role after the poor run that followed.

His first major signing was Marouane Fellaini, a faithful servant from his Everton days, for 27.5 million pounds ($46.21 million) and the towering Belgian turned out to be a complete misfit in a fading midfield screaming out for a playmaker rather than yet another enforcer.

Mindful that Moyes was given a huge pair of boots to fill and a squad in dire need of an overhaul, the board and most fans were still behind him at the turn of the year, despite giving up on any realistic chance of winning domestic silverware.

Successive defeats to Tottenham Hotspur in the league, Swansea in the FA Cup and Sunderland in the League Cup left United facing their worst season in decades, but it was the humiliating home losses to Liverpool and Manchester City in March that turned the fans against him.

Many were unhappy in the manner in which he tamely accepted a 4-2 aggregate defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals and Sunday's 2-0 reverse at his former club Everton was the final straw in a tormenting nine-month and 22 day spell for a manager who was simply out of his depth.

Seemingly overconfident when he rode in to replace Ferguson, Moyes soon struck an uncomfortable and confused-looking figure when he admitted that the job was much harder than he thought it would be.

Reports that his coaching methods, coupled with a defensive strategy in big games unfamiliar to a side accustomed to an expansive style, appeared to alienate some of the senior players in the dressing room.

This disharmony and continued run of mediocre results pushed the corridors of power at Old Trafford over the brink and they finally lost their patience, deciding a change was needed with four games still remaining in the season.

The painful Everton defeat also acted as the catalyst that ended the support of the last remaining sections of hardcore fans, who still defended him when others charted a plane to carry a banner saying “The Wrong One - Moyes Out” during last month's 4-1 home win over Aston Villa.

The Old Trafford faithful will now hope that the next in line will quickly stop the rot and get the rebuilding process on the right track.

A timeline of how David Moyes' season at Manchester United went wrong following his sacking:

2013

July 1: Moyes starts work as Manchester United manager after the retirement of Alex Ferguson.

 

September 1: Liverpool beat United 1-0 at Anfield, inflicting the first Premier League defeat under Moyes' leadership in his third league game in charge.

 

September 22: Manchester City hammer city rivals United 4-1. One week later lowly West Brom beat United at Old Trafford where they have not won in 35 years of trying.

 

December 4: Moyes former side Everton win 1-0 at Manchester United -- a first victory at Old Trafford in 21 years.

 

December 6: Rio Ferdinand criticises Moyes' late team selection policy, saying on BT Sport: "It turns you into a madman."

 

2014

January 5 - Swansea win at Old Trafford for the first time, sending United out of the FA Cup at the third-round stage for only the second time in 30 years.

 

January 7 - Defeat in Capital One Cup semi-final first leg at Sunderland means a third straight loss for the first time since May 2001.

 

February 1 - Stoke end their long wait for a win against United. Charlie Adam's double gives them their first since 1984.

 

February 7: Veteran Serbian defender Nemanja Vidic announces he will leave United at the end of the season.

 

February 9 - United come from behind to lead bottom side Fulham at Old Trafford, but Darren Bent's stoppage-time equaliser grabs a 2-2 draw. Moyes describes the result as being "as bad as it gets".

 

February 25: In the Champions League last 16, United lose 2-0 at Olympiakos in Greece.

 

March 16: Two Steven Gerrard penalties and a Luis Suarez strike earn Liverpool a crushing 3-0 win at Old Trafford.

 

March 25: United lose 3-0 at home to Manchester City. The result meant United were guaranteed to end the season with their lowest points total in Premier League history.

 

April 9: Despite an encouraging 1-1 draw in the first leg, United go down 3-1 to title holders Bayern Munich in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final in Munich.

 

April 20: Moyes' return to Everton becomes a nightmare. He is jeered by the crowd and United lose 2-0 -- a club record 11th defeat in the Premier League. United cannot now qualify for the 2014-15 Champions League. - Reuters and AFP


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