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David Moyes Will Get Time at Man United, but Failure Won't Be Tolerated for Long

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 05:  Manchester United Manager David Moyes reacts during the FA Cup with Budweiser Third round match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford on January 5, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Rob DawsonManchester United CorrespondentJanuary 5, 2014

OLD TRAFFORD, MANCHESTER — It wasn't quite the City Ground 23 years ago, but David Moyes could still have done with a win against Swansea City in the FA Cup third round.

History remembers Manchester United's third-round victory over Nottingham Forest in 1990 as the game that saved Sir Alex Ferguson's job.

The situation isn't quite that dire for Moyes just six months into the job, but the pressure is mounting on United's new manager. He will get time to turn things around, but at some point the United fans and the board will need to see evidence that the club is going in the right direction post-Ferguson.

That was hard to see after a dismal performance against Swansea on the back of another home defeat to Tottenham on New Year's Day.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 05:  Wilfried Bony of Swansea City scores his team's second goal during the FA Cup with Budweiser Third round match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford on January 5, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

It's hard to put your finger on the exact reason behind United's collapse this season. Moyes has suffered injuries to key players—Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick—while Ferguson left behind a squad reliant on a group of ageing players and an obvious weakness in midfield.

Decisions like the one to bring Paul Scholes out of retirement ahead of the FA Cup third round in 2012 instead of putting his trust in Paul Pogba, who departed for Juventus soon thereafter, have done Moyes no favours at all.

But Moyes—and the back-room staff he brought with him from Everton—must take some responsibility after taking over a team that won the Premier League by 11 points last season.

In reality, United's struggles this season are a product of a combination of all those reasons. Ferguson, Moyes, his coaches and the players, who have at times made basic individual errors, must all take their share of the blame.

Whether United are in transition or not, the brutal truth is that their performances this season have not been good enough for a club of their size and tradition.

Some United fans wouldn't mind losses if their club were playing an attractive, attacking brand of football, but that's not been the case either.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 05:  Manchester United manager David Moyes reacts during the FA Cup with Budweiser Third round match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford on January 5, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livese
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Many predicted it would be difficult for Moyes to win the title in his first season against the re-emerging might of Manchester City and Chelsea, but few would have believed United would be seventh in January.

They thought he might take time to adapt to a new challenge in the Champions League, but surely he wouldn't be knocked out of the FA Cup in the third round by Swansea at home?

Serial winners like Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra have not been good enough. Moyes has not been good enough. United have not been good enough.

Moyes can still salvage something from his first season. Lifting the Capital One Cup at Wembley, especially after beating potential opponent City in the final, would go some way to repairing the damage, as would a run to the semi-finals of the Champions League.

United's priority must be finding a way of clawing back into the top four, but with such inconsistency this season, nothing is guaranteed.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 23:  Avram Glazer and Bryan Glazer (R) look on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on October 23, 2011 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

At the very least, Moyes is testing the patience of the Glazers and the United board.

There is a lot made of United's reputation for backing their managers. But when the Glazers took over in 2005, they inherited one who couldn't be sacked. This one can.

For all the problems Moyes inherited, the buck stops with him. He's not in danger of losing his job just yet—especially while he retains the support of the majority of fans who attend games—but if United continue on this path, he's going to force the Glazers into a decision.

With a six-year contract in his pocket, Moyes will get time. But without drastic improvement, that will eventually run out.

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