Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

David Moyes now facing axe as pathetic Manchester United display may force Old Trafford owners to do u-turn

Sinking feeling: David Moyes can't hide his despair in Greece last night

They gave him a six-year contract and promised to back him all the way – but now even Manchester United's owners are beginning to wonder if David Moyes is the right man for the manager's job, writes Robert Jones

It is understood the Glazer family have been taken aback by the sheer number of poor performances United have produced since Moyes took over from Sir Alex Ferguson.

The records are tumbling – but not in the way the American tycoons had been expecting.

Teams who had never won at Old Trafford, or who had failed to win there in decades, have come away from the Theatre of Dreams with victories this season. And last night, yet another first as United lost to a Greek team for the first time in their history.

Yet another poor performance, this time in the Champions League which has been something of a haven for the beleaguered Moyes, saw United facing the proverbial mountain – 2-0 down to Olympiakos and not giving the fans any indication that they can turn things round in the home leg.

Moyes was once again putting on a brave face last night but even he knows the excuses are getting repetitive.

The Glazers knew it would be a challenging season; they didn't know there would be so many unacceptable displays.

The bookies' odds on Moyes – who has gone through two unproductive transfer windows despite being promised the funds to bring in the best players money can buy – being removed this season are now shortening.

Another trend was bucked in the wrong way courtesy of last night's last-16 first leg in Piraeus; up until then every away team in this round had won.

"That's the worst we've played in Europe; we didn't deserve to get anything," said Moyes.

"I'm surprised, I didn't see that level of performance coming. I take responsibility, we have to play better."

He added: "The players are hurting. We didn't offer enough on the night to create a goal. They have a very good home record so it wasn't unexpected."

"I take responsibility, it's my team and we have to play better. We can do, and the one thing is there's still a second game to come.

"There is a second game and we around.

"There is undoubtedly talent at Manchester United but we didn't show it tonight. We are determined to put it right and we have the opportunity to do that.

"The players are hurt, Old Trafford's seen some great nights in the past and we hope to see another one."

Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane declared that the club need six or seven players to rebuild and replace players "who just don't have the quality" and added that they could have no excuses.

"There is a lack of confidence and there are some players who just don't have the quality," he said.

"We've been brainwashed that the Premier League is the best in the world. Nonsense.

"It's the best brand in the world but they have fallen behind, United more than most.

"They need six or seven players to rebuild the club. Privately David Moyes will be shocked at the quality he is working with."

Michael Carrick, at fault for the second goal, said: "It's hugely disappointing but we feel like we're still in with a chance going back to Old Trafford.

"Obviously it's not going to be easy. We've lost a game we came here hoping to win and haven't done that.

"We're not out of tie by all means, but it's not ideal."

Asked what went wrong, Carrick added: "I'm not sure. We had good possession in the first half.

"We had control of the game without penetrating their line, but at same time they weren't causing us any problems.

"The goals came from nothing, but it obviously puts them in a great position.

"We didn't start the second half very well. A bit sloppy really."

Robin van Persie missed a glorious late chance to snatch an away goal, but Carrick did not want to apportion blame.

"You can't blame Robin; he's created his chance and nearly scored," he said.

"As players we have to stand up and take it on the chin.

"That's the business we're in. You take the good times and the bad times. We have to keep trying."

He added: "You're looking for me to blame someone. As players we haven't been getting good results and as a club that's everyone involved. That's how we are judged."

Olympiakos manager Michel had suspected that United could buckle under pressure given their lowly league position and that proved to be the case.

The Spaniard, who won La Liga six times with Real Madrid, hailed a historic triumph for the Greek club.

"The size of the opponent makes me believe this is the greatest win of my time here," Michel said.

"We have had many games against teams on the same level as United but this time we won," he added.

"I am happy with the match and I am proud of my players tonight."

The crucial second leg is at Old Trafford on March 19.

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