Manchester United: How Long Will David Moyes' Struggles Be Tolerated?

Jake NisseFeatured ColumnistDecember 11, 2013

The David Moyes era at United could be extremely short-lived if United do not improve upon their current ninth place standing
The David Moyes era at United could be extremely short-lived if United do not improve upon their current ninth place standingMichael Steele/Getty Images

When David Moyes signed a six-year contract at Manchester United in May, a new era had begun, as it would be the first time in 27 years that Sir Alex Ferguson would not be managing the Red Devils.

That new era though, could end just as quickly as it begun.

Through 15 EPL matches under Moyes, United have picked up a mediocre 22 points, placing them in ninth place of the league. 

After a promising run of form where the Reds went unbeaten in ten straight matches in all competitions, they have dropped maximum points in their last two EPL fixtures, losing 1-0 to Everton and Newcastle at home.

While most United fans could understand their team coming in second, third, or even fourth place in a transitional year, they would certainly be dissatisfied, along with management, with a finish that would put them comfortably away from even Europa League qualification.

Many of Moyes' supporters would cite the fact that Sir Alex Ferguson went trophyless until his third full season at the club, also coming out of the top ten in the first division in three of his first five years.

Owners were far more patient in 1980's than today, to the benefit of Sir Alex Ferguson
Owners were far more patient in 1980's than today, to the benefit of Sir Alex FergusonClive Rose/Getty Images

And though United are thought to be patient towards managers given the way they gave Ferguson time, business around the EPL is now done far differently than in the time Ferguson was hired.

In recent years, United have seen their competitors have extremely short leashes with managers, as Roberto Mancini was fired from Manchester City after finishing second in the table and reaching the FA Cup final. Roberto DiMatteo was sacked by Chelsea after winning the Champions League and FA Cup.

While these are extreme measures of impatience and irrationality, a ninth place finish, which would be the worst finish for the Reds since 1990, would have to prompt the Glazers to at least think about letting Moyes go.

However, United still have more than half of the season to play out, and a strong run of form to put them close to the top of the league is not implausible.

At the same time, there have been a plethora of issues with United thus far.

Their defense has been inconsistent, with the acidic combination of old age and inexperience making the back line somewhat of a liability.

Meanwhile, United have also struggled to score under David Moyes. The exciting, free-flowing, counterattacking football of the past has been replaced with dull, uninventive tactics, as United's frequent lack of creativity and use of long balls has seen them score just eight goals in eight games in front of the Old Trafford crowd.

This problem highlights another problem that falls directly on Moyes: team selection.

Moyes has struggled to navigate the Reds' deep squad into forming the best possible starting lineups, heavily relying on 40-year-old Ryan Giggs, and sometimes picking underachievers Nani and Ashley Young over players like Shinji Kagawa and Adnan Januzaj.

His frequent changes in the lineup have made for a squad with little chemistry, as Rio Ferdinand commented on the difference between Ferguson's and Moyes' strategies (via ProSoccerTalk).

According to Ferdinand, Sir Alex Ferguson would name his United squad well before the match, giving the selected players time to prepare mentally for the game. 'This manager’s a bit different in that he doesn’t name the team beforehand. You don’t really get to know the team,' Ferdinand told BT Sport. 'The old manager used to give you a little bit of an idea if you’d be playing and stuff.'

Moyes has plenty of problems to fix by the end of the season, and if he doesn't at least get United into the top four, he should fear for the safety of his job.

Information from ESPNFC and was used in this article