Not only is Moyes losing games at an alarming rate this season, he is now losing the confidence of his star players, according to Jackson’s article:
The Guardian can reveal that some within the dressing room are unsure of Moyes's ability to reverse a sequence that includes a league defeat by Tottenham Hotspur, being knocked out of the FA Cup by Swansea City, and Tuesday's 2-1 loss at Sunderland in the League Cup semi-final, first leg.
When Moyes was appointed as Sir Alex Ferguson's successor at the close of last season he brought in his own coaches – Steve Round, Phil Neville, Chris Woods, and Jimmy Lumsden, and also appointed Ryan Giggs – while discarding the existing backroom staff of René Meulensteen, Mike Phelan and Eric Steele.
This move is being privately questioned by some within the squad who were happy working with a group that had helped Ferguson oversee part of the most successful period in United's history.
According to well-placed sources, there is a bemusement among a number of players, with a strong sense forming that as United won the title by 11 points last term there was little need for Moyes to undergo a complete revamp of a set-up that had a proven winning structure.
Moyes will likely deny Jackson’s claims during his next pre-match press conference, scheduled for Friday, but there are increasing rumblings of discontent emerging from Old Trafford—both inside and outside of the squad—as alluded to by 101GreatGoals:
Nemanja Vidic’s agent revealed earlier this week the centre-back is likely to leave in the summer, per ITV. That revelation came only weeks after Rio Ferdinand confessed he does not like Moyes’ policy of waiting until the last moment to reveal his starting XI, as reported by the Daily Mail’s John Edwards.
A September report from the Daily Star’s David Woods claimed Robin van Persie is not happy with Moyes’ training methods, although the player later denied the story. Nevertheless, he has been injured far more regularly under Moyes than during his time with Sir Alex Ferguson.
Danny Welbeck was another to find himself at odds with the manager, per a separate Jackson report, when the striker denied Moyes’ claims he had to be asked to do extra training.
The United camp is undoubtedly an unhappy place to be right now. Five points outside the top four, and having lost all three games in 2014, United look in real danger of failing to qualify for next season’s Champions League competition.
Henry Winter of the Telegraph sums up the current state of United's squad:
With no Rooney or RVP, #mufc reliant on an 18-year-old. Januzaj good, some weaving runs, shots, but others need to raise their game quickly— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) January 7, 2014
United aren't the only Premier League club with this policy. They felt it was fair players should be rewarded for reaching the top four but also share the financial pain if they miss out.
United officials and fans should not be surprised by the disastrous season that is unravelling under Moyes.
The Everton boss arrived without a trophy to his name, with little European experience, and with a reputation for playing an industrial style of football.
In fairness to him, he had operated well on a budget at Everton, but other managers—his replacement Roberto Martinez being one of them—have won trophies with far inferior squads to that boasted by Everton.
United’s squad is full of champions. The likes of Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs and Rooney have won multiple league titles, Champions League medals and several other honours.
Will Moyes prove a success at United?
For Moyes to start telling them how to play football and how to improve their games, against no background of success, is a difficult scenario for those players to adhere to.
United’s football has been slow and ponderous since Moyes arrived, and they already appear out of the title race at the midway stage of the season. The FA Cup has also disappeared, while Capital One Cup embarrassment is on the cards.
Moyes had the chance to make a statement signing during the summer that would inject instant confidence into his methods, yet he bought Marouane Fellaini for £27.5 million, a player who embodies his belligerent style of football.
The emergence of Ross Barkley, who would have resembled a far better signing for that fee in the summer, has only furthered the belief that Moyes made a giant mistake spending so heavily on Fellaini.
He now has the January window to turn things around. According to Jackson’s article, United’s players need to be given a reason to believe, because right now they are heading for Europa League football or worse next year.