Is Moyes to blame for Manchester United's malaise...

'You have been the most fantastic experience of my life. I've been able to manage some of the greatest players in the country. Those last-minute goals, the comebacks, even the defeats, are all part of this great football club of ours. Your job now is to stand by our new manager.'
So read placards put up inside the Sir Alex Ferguson stand at Old Trafford, stirring words excerpted from the former manager's goodbye speech.
Presumably they were chosen to encourage supporters to give David Moyes' regime a chance. After nearly 27 years of having Ferguson at the helm, nobody knew how fans would react to change.
Nobody thought the handover process would be easy.
Disappointment: Another bad result for Manchester United increases the pressure for David Moyes
Statement: Boards like this were put up at Old Trafford, featuring part of Sir Alex Ferguson's farewell speech
And it hasn't been. The 1-1 draw against Southampton at home on Saturday was a real disappointment. Mauricio Pochettino's side are flying high and are tough to beat, but title-contenders need to win matches like that at home.
Defeats against rivals Liverpool and Manchester City stung, but were understandable. The former was even avenged, to some extent, though the Capital One Cup victory later that month.
Losing at home to West Bromwich Albion was worrying though. With the game poised at 1-1 and Robin van Persie thrown on to join Wayne Rooney up front, United simply don't lose from that position. Especially at Old Trafford.
And yet they did; youngster Saido Berahino's strike condemning Moyes' side to defeat. How many games have we watched where Manchester United find a goal from somewhere late on, when they need it? 'Those last-minute goals, the comebacks'.
United have played eleven games this season in all competitions. They've been close to their best in perhaps two of them.
Hard act to follow: Stepping into Sir Alex Ferguson's shoes was never going to be an easy job

The 4-1 win over Swansea and the 4-2 win against Bayer Leverkusen saw Moyes' men play some scintillating attacking football, but in both those games there were long stretches where they looked shaky.
It's not yet a crisis at Old Trafford but with every lost point the league title slips further from their grasp. Leaders Arsenal are eight points ahead of United at the moment.
Although you can pick holes in Arsene Wenger's thin squad and wait for it to be ravaged by injuries over Christmas - as so often happens at the Emirates - the first eleven is strong.
Is this malaise Moyes' fault? He still hasn't settled on a first XI. There are a handful of staple selections - David De Gea, Patrice Evra, Michael Carrick, Rooney and Van Persie, but the rest of the side is being tinkered with.
He started the season with a back four of Evra-Ferdinand-Vidic-Jones, but the team that faced Southampton featured Evra-Evans-Jones-Rafael. They weren't to blame for Southampton's late equaliser and Moyes has been hamstrung by injuries to some extent, but it shows his side is not settled.
We've had Ashley Young, Nani and Antonio Valencia all being in and out of the side. Shinji Kagawa has been given short shrift, playing just three times and being substituted on every occasion.
To Moyes's credit, he's brought Adnan Januzaj into the limelight and has been rewarded for it. During another listless display against Sunderland, it was the 18-year-old's brilliant brace that salvaged the points for Moyes.
His excellent performances - and Januzaj was one of United's better players on Saturday - have taken some heat of off Moyes - and the forward's team-mates.
Marouane Fellaini has been poor since joining and there were cheers when he was substituted against Southampton. He looks uncertain, of his role in the side, maybe even whether he deserves to be playing for the current Premier League champions.
Uncertain: Marouane Fellaini has been off the pace so far in a Manchester United shirt
That could all change - a year from now the 76 minutes of nothingness he offered could be long forgotten. There could be Fellaini wigs filling the Sir Alex Ferguson stand.
But to blame Moyes for United not strengthening significantly in the summer would be to do him a disservice. Without doubt he wanted the Belgian, but that was not his only request.
When Arsenal spend more than you in a transfer window then you know something's wrong.
Wenger broke his transfer record to bring in Mesut Ozil, Chelsea picked up several new players, including Samuel Eto'o and Andre Schurrle, Manchester City picked up almost all their transfer targets (missing out on Isco), while Tottenham invested their Gareth Bale windfall wisely.
Moyes wanted, and needed, a world class player, something to help the team push on. Having won the Premier League last season, nobody could claim that Moyes had been given a duff hand. But there were problems with the team.
Ferguson had neglected to fill a hole in midfield for some time, with Ryan Giggs playing there and Paul Scholes coming out of retirement. Even though the signing of Fellaini was botched and rushed through at the last minute, it was at least an effort to solve a problem.
He will need vice-chairman Ed Woodward to pull his socks up - everyone inside the club and out know that this summer's transfer debacle cannot be repeated.
Pen to paper: Ed Woodward (left) oversaw a weak transfer window performance but Manchester United signing up Adnan Januzaj (centre) for five more years is a good move
Pen to paper: Ed Woodward (left) oversaw a weak transfer window performance but Manchester United signing up Adnan Januzaj (centre) for five more years is a good move
A title-contending team's best piece of business cannot be simply to 'keep one of their best players', in stopping Rooney from leaving.
That's something that Liverpool would be delighted to do with Luis Suarez - and the last time they won the title was 1990.
Ferguson thinks winning anything in his first season would be to Moyes' credit.
'For David, winning a trophy would be a fantastic achievement,' said the Scot, who was at the game on Saturday.
'No matter what it is - the League Cup, FA Cup, European Cup or Premier League. We've always had priorities obviously and David is aware of that but I hope he achieves it.'
But Moyes does not speak like a winner. 'We should probably have put the game to bed earlier,' he said after the match.
'We had a couple of chances, hit the bar and had a couple of other opportunities. We had some pockets of play when we were very good and there were times when we were not as good. It was a mixed game at times, but we still had those chances that I was hoping we would finish off.'
Staying: Keeping Wayne Rooney was the best business United did this summer... but is that good enough?
To criticise him for sounding humble, not entitled and not arrogant would be wrong, but Manchester United fans are not used to having a manager who takes disappointing results on the chin.
So Moyes is not blameless, as United stutter, yet he should not be the scapegoat. The team that played against Southampton was strong enough to beat them and the players must shoulder some responsibility.
There is no panacea for 'transition', but time, patience and support help. United need to strengthen in January.
But if Moyes gets the players he needs, having had some time to get used to his new surroundings, there will no room for excuses and that's when the pressure will really be on.


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