Nani Defended by David Moyes After Being Booed by Manchester United Fans
Nani was jeered off the pitch as Adnan Januzaj replaced the winger in United’s 3-2 victory over Stoke, which twice saw them trail on home soil.
Moyes is quoted saying by Daniel Jones of Metro:
He is a regular and captain for Portugal so he is very talented.
There were one or two decisions he might have made better, but he got us the (first) goal with a lovely ball.
We have a lot of competition for places in the wide areas, incredible competition, and that is what we’re looking for.
Nani was replaced in the 58th minute of the weekend win, with the score reading 2-1 in Stoke’s favour at the time of his exit. United scored twice in the final half-hour to turn the result in their favour, further endangering Nani's place in the side.
A new five-year contract was signed by Nani in the summer—per Jones' article—but he continues to prove one of United’s more frustrating players, capable of brilliance but all-too-often showing an inconsistency to his game.
The frustration of United’s support has multiple sources, not least the fact that Nani has not registered a league goal or assist this season—per ESPN FC—despite the fact his cross indirectly led to Robin van Persie’s equaliser at the weekend.
Nani is also keeping Januzaj—the new darling of Old Trafford—off the starting team sheet, meaning each minute that passes without significant contribution is a moment in which the teen prodigy could have influenced the match.
United’s form, despite the win, continues to raise more questions than answers. They have only beaten Swansea, Crystal Palace, Sunderland and Stoke in the league this season, three of whom are in the bottom four.
Who deserves the United boos?
Moyes’ side trailed both Sunderland and Stoke before scraping victories and, on current form, look capable of losing every match they enter.
Nani, on paper, does not represent a typical Moyes player. The winger is not known for a high work rate, and he is often erratic, preferring to dazzle with a trick than take the efficient option.
Along with Antonio Valencia and Shinji Kagawa, the Portugal international has failed to terrorise defences this term and has been part of the reason United have struggled for goals.
Moyes must accept some of the blame for the boos that were aimed at Nani (shown at 14.45 of the video below—language warning), knowing his wingers will continue to come under pressure while he leaves Januzaj on the bench.
However, a scapegoat is always needed by supporters in football, and right now United’s fanbase is trying not to blame Moyes for their appalling start to the campaign.
The infuriating Nani is the ideal figure. He must pray his form—or United’s—improves if he is to emerge from the glare of the microscope.
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