Moyes pays price for self-inflicted blunders

Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:28am EDT
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By Zoran and Milosavljevic

(Reuters) - More than a decade of perceived over-achievement at Everton helped propel David Moyes into the Manchester United hot-seat but in a far more complex and unforgiving environment his shortcomings were ruthlessly exposed.

Having come from a club where expectations were modest and the budget slim, Moyes suddenly found himself at a club where second best had never been an acceptable option in 26 years under the iconic Alex Ferguson.

After 10 torturous months and with United not even second, but a distant seventh in the Premier League, Moyes was sacked on Tuesday, paying the price for a series of self-inflicted blunders that began almost as soon as he took charge.

In an attempt to show himself as his own man, Moyes cleared out Ferguson's entire backroom staff, robbing himself of men who could have provided the mortar between the bricks as he set about building his own empire.

While that was perhaps understandable, his next move to sign former Everton stalwart Marouane Fellaini for 27.5 million pounds ($46.21 million) raised the eyebrows of most United fans wondering why yet another enforcer was added to a midfield screaming out for a playmaker.

Predictably, the towering Belgian turned out to be a complete misfit and his tepid performances went hand in hand with Moyes's lack of tactical vision which had reportedly alienated senior players in the dressing room.

Moyes seemed completely at sea when rotating his squad, a concept Ferguson applied so masterfully during his trophy-laden spell in charge which landed 13 Premier League titles - some of them with players arguably less talented than their rivals.

Unquestioned loyalty to Dutch striker Robin Van Persie when he was clearly in poor form at the expense of goal-hungry Mexican Javier Hernandez and shunning Japan midfielder Shinji Kagawa also looked poor decisions when United lacked midfield guile and spark up front.   Continued...

Then Manchester United's manager David Moyes reacts during their English Premier League soccer match against Swansea City at Old Trafford in Manchester, northern England in this January 11, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Phil Noble/Files