The summer transfer window was Moyes’ first failed test. The manager, desperate to bolster the midfield, failed with bids for Cesc Fabregas, Ander Herrera, Thiago Alcantara and Sami Khedira before finally landing Marouane Fellaini, but at an inflated price of 27.5 million pounds — 5m pounds over his release clause. Moyes also had a bid for Leighton Baines rejected in the summer. This was unprecedented as usually United got their man under Ferguson. The January window may turn out to be another disappointing affair for the Red Devils with Moyes himself conceding that he may not end up signing anyone.
Closing out games
One of the biggest virtues of United sides under Sir Alex Ferguson was the ability to score late goals. However, under David Moyes, that seems to be on the wane. In the current season, United have scored 9% of their goals after the 80th minute. The figure was 16% in the 2012-13 season and 17% in 2011-12. Even more telling is the number of points United have won due to late goals. In the first 20 EPL games last season, United had salvaged 11 points by virtue of goals scored after the 80th minute. So far in this season, the Red Devils have managed to score no points due to goals scored after the 80th minute.
Earning the team’s respect
Some players in the United dressing room are clearly unimpressed with David Moyes, with media reports claiming that several senior players have questioned his credentials after their third straight loss earlier this month. This would have been unthinkable during Ferguson’s reign. Reportedly, star striker Robin van Persie had locked horns with the manager over his training methods which the striker thought was making him more susceptible to injury back in October. Moyes had earlier angered Wayne Rooney after claiming that “if for any reason we had an injury to Robin (van Persie), we’re going to need Rooney.”
Earning fans’ respect
After Manchester United lost their second game at Old Trafford in a week (to Newcastle United on December 7), David Moyes bore the brunt of the fans’ ire as a chorus of boos rang out at the Theatre of Dreams. The manager also been at the receiving end of irate fans’ disdain on Twitter after United’s mixed start to the season. According to a recent poll conducted by the influential club fanzine ‘Red Issue’, 7.26% of United fans who took the poll believe the 50-year-old should be replaced instantly while 19.76% voted for the Scotsman to be given at least until the end of the season to prove himself.
Fear factor at Old Trafford
Under Sir Alex Ferguson, Old Trafford was a fortress. However, this season teams like West Brom, Everton (who never won at Old Trafford under Moyes) and Swansea (who have never won at the Theatre of Dreams) have come to United with the belief that the Red Devils can be beaten, not just drawn. While United have a perfect home record in the Champions League and the League Cup, in the 2013-14 EPL campaign, United have lost four games (and drawn two) out of 11 games so far, conceding 10 goals. In the FA Cup, they were knocked out at Old Trafford by Swansea.