Manchester United: An Open Letter to David Moyes

Dearest Mr. Moyes,

After a season in which the team has plumbed new depths, hitherto unseen by many Manchester United fans, we think it’s vital that you understand how many people feel about your management of the team.

Worryingly for some it appears that, despite terrible results in a heavily results-driven business, you will be given more time at Manchester United. So perhaps you will take note of some patent problems in the team. We refer to your post-match press conference:

“I think if you are going to look at the stats and pick out the number of crosses, you need to look at the number of passes,” said the Scot. “I don’t think we just went out and crossed the ball.

“And a lot of people would say that one of the big things about Manchester United is that they do play with width, it’s in their genes here.”

Yes, Manchester United are known for playing with width. But do you honestly believe that a top manager would play with wingers when they don’t have any top ones at their disposal? For a man who gets paid so much for his expertise to still select Ashley Young on a regular basis, while Adnan Januzaj sits on the bench, seems bizarre.

Top managers use the tools that they have. Manchester United quite clearly do not have a vintage set of wide men right now. This was amply proven by yesterday’s record number of crosses – none of which directly resulted in a goal. What they do have, thanks in no small part to your recent record-breaking acquisition, is three brilliant forwards who are best deployed in a narrow formation behind a striker – Rooney, Januzaj, Mata. These guys simply have to play. It’s staggering that you can’t see that and don’t alter the formation to accommodate them all.

Mata was stuck out on the right wing, from the outset against Fulham, in what must be the biggest waste of talent in Premier League history. Meanwhile Januzaj sits on the bench. So, effectively, instead of adding a world class talent to the team in January you have brought in Mata and taken out Januzaj – the star performer for Manchester this season. So you have substituted one top talent with another when you need all of your best performers on the park more than ever. Did you really buy Mata to play as a right winger?

4-4-2 is great when you have the players for it. But Manchester United don’t right now. What they do have is 4 really top talents who need to play in a narrower formation.

It is glaringly obvious, from the players available that Mata, Rooney and Januzaj need to be deployed in a 4-2-3-1 behind RvP. This also begins to solve the regular problem of Manchester United getting overrun in midfield. Playing two in front of the defence, as most teams do now, would give Manchester United much more solidity.

‘We had to defend maybe three or four times in the whole game, but that happens sometimes in football. The more we went to score the more chances they had.’

Fulham proved to Manchester United that possession is of little consequence if you don’t do anything with it. Yes Manchester United had chances but, surely, that is to be expected against the rock bottom side in the division.

In our opinion the problem with Manchester United under your management is that the team doesn’t get behind opposition defences quickly or often enough. They get the ball to 2/3 of the way up the pitch and then start passing sideways. Even more reason to have your creative talents on the park and playing through the middle.

Rene Meulensteen could see the flaws that Moyes fails to:

‘I think the variety in play wasn’t there, it was all about crossing the ball. Can you start manipulating the play, can you play give and goes and force Fulham to do something different. Fulham were comfortable saying ‘throw balls in’.

Back to Mr. Moyes:

How we didn’t win I have no idea,”

I think that you have summed it up perfectly Mr. Moyes. You don’t seem to understand why you aren’t winning. It doesn’t bode well.