David Moyes reportedly accused his Manchester United squad of deliberately trying to get him the sack, and even denounced his team for "playing like girls" during an ill-tempered 10-month reign at Old Trafford.
The Scottish manager, relieved of his duties on Tuesday, also berated the club's board in a brutal farewell chat with the players he seemingly failed to inspire.
As reported by Neil Custis of the Sun (subscription required), Moyes got angry with his squad many times during his brief tenure:
The 50-year-old Scot — who failed to thank his players or the board yesterday after his sacking was leaked — gave United’s stars their first blast in the Manchester derby last September.
Manchester City had just gone 2-0 up on the stroke of half-time when Moyes told his multi-millionaire players in the dressing room: "This is not even men against boys — this is men against girls."
Custis also suggests that Moyes told his players, "You are trying to get me the sack," after United's embarrassing penalty defeat to Sunderland ended their chances of capturing the Capital One Cup.
In the aftermath of United's 2-0 Champions League loss to Olympiacos, Moyes supposedly said, "I know what you lot are trying to do."
This was reportedly the game that tipped the balance for United's chiefs. Although the Red Devils managed to prolong their European stint with a 3-0 second-leg victory, Bayern Munich brushed them aside at the quarter-final stage.
Moyes is said to be "furious and disgusted" with how the club's board went about his sacking, per Alan Nixon of the Mirror. Reports of the 50-year-old's dismissal surfaced online on Monday, at which point Moyes hadn't spoken to executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, before he was officially sacked on Tuesday morning.
In an alternate Custis report, Moyes is said to have signalled his frustration during a goodbye speech to his players shortly after finding out the news:
A United source said: "He certainly did not hold back when he began talking about the way he was fired and how he found out. He does not realise nobody at the club wanted the information out before he had been told and the board were surprised when the news broke on Monday.
"The decision had been made, but they wanted to do things the right way."
Stories of unrest within the squad have emerged since Moyes was given the boot. Ian Ladyman of the Daily Mail detailed a plethora of incidents, tweeted by Bleacher Report UK:
Mark Ogden of the Telegraph suggests the lack of acknowledgement between Moyes and his former squad says an awful lot about their relationship:
Lack of recognition from Moyes to players in his statement is telling. As are the lack of comments from the players. Unusual Twitter silence— Mark Ogden (@MOgdenTelegraph) April 23, 2014
The tidbits coming out of Old Trafford since Moyes' departure sums up a reign that appeared doomed for quite some time. While United showed signs of improvement at interspersed moments throughout the season, Moyes never managed to get his team playing consistently confident football.
Instead, negativity overpowered the squad's output. Proven players such as Robin van Persie, Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick are among those who were unable to find a spell of form under Sir Alex Ferguson's successor, despite posting excellent individual campaigns last year.
Custis' reports suggest an insidious relationship between Moyes and the United staff had a bigger impact than the manager's one-dimensional tactics. Although racking up a Premier League record of 81 crosses in a single match will halt the side's effectiveness, a lack of unity between manager and players ensures the fight to perform well is limited.
Both United and Moyes will be looking to move on quickly from this episode. The club can expect a busy summer—one that revolves around finding a new boss and dramatically improving the squad—while Moyes is sure to find top-level work when he deems it necessary to manage again.
We can expect further instances of drama to emerge as the full story on Moyes' sacking unravels. Neither United nor the axed boss are being painted in a particularly positive light, suggesting both parties are to blame for this situation.