The 2013-14 season has been a miserable one for Manchester United as the club currently sit sixth in the Barclays Premier League. They have been knocked out of both the FA Cup and Capital One Cup and have looked to be lacking in passion on the field.
The only thing that was left to justify the first season of the David Moyes era was a deep run in the UEFA Champions League, although after losing 2-0 in the first leg of the Round of 16 to Olympiacos, even this looks to be down the drain. It is time that Moyes pays for it by being forced out the door.
United were absolutely embarrassed by Olympiacos in Athens as they were lacking in effort, composure on the ball and general passion to win the game. At no point did they seem to really want the ball more than their opponents, and even when on the ball, they looked to be nervous whenever an opponent closed space.
It seemed at times that United was passing the ball back to center-backs Rio Ferdinand and Chris Smalling more than they were going up the field. Neither player looked to be a Champions League-level player and they were exposed by a more motivated Olympiacos side, who mustered 12 shots.
In terms of moving the ball forward, United really didn’t have many chances for the entirety of the game as they only managed to take seven shots and put one on goal. Both Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie lacked the will to move towards the center of the park and win the ball for themselves, and the central midfield battle was thoroughly lost by Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, and later on Shinji Kagawa.
Nobody expected the side to look like Bayern Munich, but a little effort would have been appreciated.
That Manchester United only lost 2-0 was actually a bit fortunate, and much of the blame should be put on the players. But at the end of the day, the manager is responsible for getting his players motivated and in sync during the game and at halftime and in training sessions. There is no doubt that Moyes has failed in each of these this season.
Whether it has been the inability to truly establish a style of play other than get the ball out wide and cross it into the box, the unwillingness to recognize that Ferdinand doesn’t have the mobility to play against top sides any longer, or the inability to dictate play at all in the middle of the park, Moyes has been a failure this year. United have not been able to pick up any true run of positive form, and the squad has lost respect for Moyes as shown by their lack of effort. While he did a great job at Everton, players are not listening to his message and they certainly aren’t reacting to it.
Replacing Sir Alex Ferguson is a difficult task, and it must be noted that only two transfer periods have passed by since Moyes has taken over, but at some point you have to stop hiding behind these facades. This is Manchester United we are talking about after all, and a season with no trophies and a league position outside of the top four cannot be accepted.
It is time for the club’s board of directors to suck up their pride and let go of Moyes and the five remaining years on his contract.