Sir Alex Ferguson Is Right, One Trophy Should Be Lauded in Moyes' First Season
If the Old Trafford legend says "Jump" the following question should be "How high?" The credit Ferguson deserves after 26 years of almost unstinting success has afforded him the right to be the man to be heard above all others.
When Ferguson insists that even a single trophy in David Moyes' first season would be an "incredible achievement,” as Joe Bernstein of the Mail On Sunday reported, he knows what he is talking about.
Ferguson has experience with failure to win silverware in his early days at United. He joined the club in November of 1986, but did not win a trophy until the 1990 FA Cup when United needed a replay to defeat Crystal Palace.
Ferguson's mantra to Moyes and the fans is simple, just keep going:
David must just try to maintain what we have done for the last 20-odd years.
That’s the key. He shouldn’t try to do anything better or less. Keep the success going, it’s not easy to win a trophy in our league.
There are probably six teams fighting for the title. Ourselves, City and Chelsea are the big favourites, Arsenal have started well and so have Liverpool and Tottenham. It’s going to be an incredible tussle.
For David, winning a trophy would be an incredible achievement this year.
It doesn’t matter what it is. Whether it’s the League Cup, the FA Cup, the European Cup or the Premier League.
We’ve always had priorities here — and David is aware of that. I hope he achieves it. He’s got great support.
There is no doubting that these are uncomfortable times for United fans. The transition from Ferguson to Moyes has not been as smooth as expected. The team are currently in their worst start to a Premier League campaign.
But a change from Ferguson's leadership was going to be difficult, no matter who the incoming manager would be.
However, this is a Saints team enjoying an excellent start to the Premier League campaign under Mauricio Pochettino, and confidence is high under the Argentinian.
Moyes still deserves time to put his own mark on the squad after a summer of disappointment in the transfer market, while the team also adapt to the handover from their long-term leader to the former Everton boss.
Moyes' call for England manager Roy Hodgson to rest striker Wayne Rooney for the friendlies against Chile and Germany next month, as Sky Sports reported, smacks of a desire to deflect headlines elsewhere, something Ferguson excelled in:
If we want a fit and firing Wayne Rooney at the World Cup it might be better giving him a week's holiday.
England have one more international after Christmas against Denmark in March so this might be the one to rest him.
A lot of coaches will look at their players and see the November internationals as the last time to get any decent rest.
I think he [Hodgson] might try and be fair with some clubs. But there is no point in friendlies if you're not going to use them to prepare for the World Cup.
The point will not be lost on any number of managers across the globe seeking to wrap their important players away from the potential dangers of injury and fatigue in meaningless international fixtures.
But with the England manager now preparing for the 2014 World Cup, Hodgson's needs are also more sharply focused for Brazil next year.
Rooney has, undoubtedly, been in solid form for United so far this season. But after a summer in which his future was the constant source of unease for supporters, he has needed to be.
Hodgson would be unwise to annoy club managers, but the 2-0 win over Poland represented a watershed moment in his own ambitions, and he will not be willing to allow them to be overshadowed by the wishes of any club manager.
Even if Ferguson was still in charge at United, England would still be Hodgson's priority. They have to be.
Indeed, it is not beyond imagination to suggest other teams lost the title rather than United winning it.
However, United fans have watched Arsenal attain top spot with the help of new signing Mesut Ozil, Chelsea are buoyant again with Jose Mourinho at the helm and Liverpool are looking strong again this season.
The only club not to follow suit this season are United, and there is an understandable envy being cast elsewhere. But there needn't be. Certainly not yet anyway.
It could be argued that Ferguson announced his retirement on the back of a season in which he knew rebuilding was required, and, at the age of 71, he was not prepared to go through another such exercise.
Nobody would be able to dispute Ferguson's timing of departure for that reason, especially not after so many previous structural changes he has overseen during his tenure.
What United, Moyes and the fans need at the moment is some solidity and unity. The time is not right for boat-rocking.
A solitary trophy this season is a reasonable expectation for United.
Expecting more is going to take a little bit longer.
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