If we were to turn the clock back to 2013, we would find the beginning of Manchester United’s demise. Despite a Community Shield success to kick off his tenure, David Moyes would struggle to fill the boots of Sir Alex Ferguson. Having lifted the Premier League the previous season, United made a poor attempt of trying to retain their crown.
Defeats to West Bromwich Albion, Stoke City and Newcastle United in the league as well as a humiliating early exit in the FA Cup at home to Swansea City all played a factor in Moyes being sacked from Old Trafford before the end of the campaign. United would end the season limping to seventh which ensured the Reds missed out on Europe.
For United to turn their back on a manager they gave a six-year deal to, less than a year into said contract, was shocking. However, it could not be argued against that the Reds had underperformed as they tried to adjust to life away from Sir Alex Ferguson.
Recently, Moyes bemoaned the lack of time he received for turning around United. He told BBC Sport before West Ham’s first leg Europa League semi-final defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt: “At Manchester United I thought ‘what a chance’ and I couldn’t make it work.
“I couldn’t win enough games in the 10 months to give myself more time. I’d like to have been able to turn it around and do something quickly which was required but I think over time what has suited me is being able to build something.”
Time is a precious commodity, especially in football, and Moyes was perhaps naive to think that he would receive it in 2013. He was inheriting a title-winning squad bear in mind and to drop out of Europe entirely was unforgivable.
Nearly ten years on, ironically it is time which the next man through the famous doors at Old Trafford needs more than ever. Unlike back in the Moyes era, Erik Ten Hag is taking over a team that is a shell of the sides United have previously assembled.
Thursday’s dismal draw with Chelsea was a miserable watch for all of those who are of a red persuasion. The Blues were dominant for large spells and only a Cristiano Ronaldo moment of magic was enough to save United from yet another defeat.
Currently Ten Hag does not have a squad which could challenge for a Champions League spot, never mind the title. It is obvious that several players will be leaving Old Trafford at the end of the season and it is unlikely that any will be missed.
These departures should leave space for new additions which will help to improve this stuttering club. Both on and off the pitch there will be major restructuring taking place but like the common adage states, ‘Rome was not built in a day’.
If he is given the time to work his ethos into Manchester United he could be heralded as a saviour like Jurgen Klopp is in Liverpool. It cannot be stressed enough though that this is a big if.
United have been comfortable pulling the trigger on managers when the time suited. Should they do this with Ten Hag they could live to regret it.
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