David Moyes Deserves Credit for Manchester United's Emerging Team Spirit
Manchester United defeated Fulham, 3-1, at Craven Cottage over the weekend to make it four wins in a row in all competitions and, with other results being somewhat favourable, leaving the Red Devils just three points behind second place.
It is still too early to say the Champions are finally turning their season around. We will have a better indication of where David Moyes' side stand after the next six fixtures, which include games against league leaders Arsenal, Tottenham and Everton.
What is evident, however, is Moyes has managed to install a team spirit into his side which has remained despite poor form. The celebrations after each goal against Fulham and the comeback win at home to Stoke were the clearest indications. Even Wayne Rooney is joining in with the group hugs, and he even celebrated with Robin van Persie.
Rooney's apparent happiness is in complete contrast to the lonely soul we saw at Swansea in the season opener and his lack of celebration when Man Utd sealed their 20th title against Aston Villa.
The then "angry and confused" forward, who looked like he was on his way to Chelsea in the summer, is not just playing well, but he is playing with a smile on his face. Whether this new found joy is just an act before another transfer saga is another matter, but if it is genuine, then the manager must receive due credit.
Moyes in the face of criticism and poor results was able to keep his players on his side, leading to comebacks reminiscent of those under Sir Alex Ferguson.
The former Everton boss is now showing what Sir Alex himself would have seen in him when he chose the fellow Scot to be his replacement. Modern football is predominantly focused on tactics and, for the most part, psuedo-philosophy while forgetting the importance of simple man-management.
Moyes' tactics have come under deserved scrutiny, especially after the Manchester Derby. The style of play has also, at times, been uninspiring compared to what the Old Trafford faithful have become accustomed to.
However, recent results, and the Fulham performance in particular, showed not just Moyes has settled, but his message is starting to get through.
He has found the right blend in attack with Januzaj being added to the Rooney-van Persie partnership. The defence is the next frontier for Moyes to fight, as he readies his team for the tough winter ahead.
For now, however, the signs are positive after Moyes gained his first victory in getting his new squad singing from the same song sheet and Rooney seemingly back on side. Their group hugs and smiles have been enough recently to warm the fans as the autumn cold has taken over.
The weekend's fixture at home to Arsenal is crucial if they are to continue the turn around. Man Utd go into the game in reasonable form, and the players are in a happy enough mood. Now is the time for Moyes to get the tactics right to add to this emerging team spirit.
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