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Daily Debate: Is Moyes' position untenable?

With Man United failing in the league and losing to Olympiakos in the Champions League, two TEAMtalk writers argue if David Moyes should go.

Last Updated: 26/02/14 at 14:05 Post Comment

Manchester United in Tuesday's defeat in Olympiakos

Manchester United in Tuesday's defeat in Olympiakos

In Daily Debate, two TEAMtalk writers give their views on a hot topic and then invite readers to decide who has put forward the best argument.

You can vote for your winner using the story comment facility at the bottom of the article, or by declaring your support on Twitter.

Should David Moyes leave Manchester United now?

Moyes took responsibility for United's dreadful showing against Olympiakos in the Champions League on Tuesday night with a performance that seemed to sum up his time as manager so far, while some of his key players also beginning to voice their frustration with United's poor run. Away from Europe, the club's issues continue domestically, languishing in sixth position in the league and out of both cup competitions, is it the right time for Moyes to make his United exit?

James Marshment and James Dixon have their say...

James Marshment (@marshyleeds) - Time to go!

Manchester United are English football's most successful team of all time, so nothing less than high standards are not just demanded, but expected.

True, stepping into Sir Alex Ferguson's shoes was always going to be close to mission impossible given his never-to-be-bettered reign. And in Moyes defence, I think even the most ardent United fan realised that the day he left, their hopes of winning trophies would also be somewhat reduced.

But in little short of 25 weeks, Moyes has managed to undo 25 years sterling work - with United plundering from one crisis to another of a highly-troubled season.

Before Tuesday's Athens debacle, I was firmly under the belief that United simply had to give Moyes time and money. But now I'm finding it increasingly difficult to make a case to keep him in the hotseat.

With their hopes of defending their title already over, the two hopes Moyes had to cling onto were the Champions League, and at the very least, a return to the competition next season through a top-four finish.

But on Tuesday night, United managed to make a pretty-damn average Olympiakos side look like world-beaters. United looked scared; nervous; tactically inept. Worst of all it looked like the players didn't want to play for Moyes - and that's of huge concern to the club.

OK, last season's title success owed to three things: a weaker Premier League, the brilliance of Robin van Persie, and the manager. This season, we've witnessed far greater strength with Chelsea, Man City and even Arsenal leading the chase for glory.

Van Persie has had his fitness issues this term, but he looks hugely unhappy and a shadow of the player who plundered 30 goals last term.

Pushing for a top-four spot was the minimum requirement. United are currently 11 points behind Liverpool, and barring a late-season reversal of fortunes, look set to miss out on Champions League football for the first time since the competition's conception.

Since the turn of the year, Manchester United have lost six of their 12 games played: Unheard of. Since the season began they've lost eight league games: Unthinkable. David Moyes' position as Manchester United manager: Untenable. He's lost the players (if indeed he ever had them), a top-four finish looks unlikely at best, and only a sixth trophyless season in the last 25 years looks a near-certainty.

Moyes: It's time to go.

James Dixon (@JDixon_88) - Give him time

Coming out and taking responsibility after such a comprehensive defeat to a minnow of European football shows a lot of character, especially when it was the players who should have taken the brunt of the criticism.

After the game, Manchester United legend Roy Keane described the performance in Athens as, "flat, with no urgency" and claimed that Moyes would have been "shocked at the lack of quality" when he arrived at the club in the summer.

And this is what it ultimately comes down to.

The truth of the matter is, Moyes inherited a distinctly average bunch of players and what Sir Alex Ferguson did to win the title with those players was nothing short of spectacular.

Ferguson had a herculean task of galvanising the majority of this current squad to finish top of the league last season, but nearly a year on, the core of United's first team are ageing players, running out of steam.

Not to mention that the competition in the Premier League this season is much stronger than what Ferguson had to overcome in the previous campaign.

In what has become a changing landscape, Old Trafford has also seen another of the club's mainstays, David Gill, replaced by Ed Woodward as chief executive. And following the debacle during the summer transfer window, Moyes has been hung out to dry while, behind the scenes, those tasked with running the club have failed to do their job.

Also, United haven't been involved in major transfer activity for some time and a squad low on talent is what remains - would the likes of Jose Mourinho been able to cope with what Moyes has been left with considering the money he has spent at Chelsea this season to make them title contenders?

I don't believe Moyes has lost the dressing room - Wayne Rooney's new deal suggests that - and a certain influx of players in the summer will finally mean he will have a squad to call his own. And the signing of Juan Mata clearly shows that David Moyes has the appeal to world class players that he is a man they can work under.

As far as their Champions League ambitions go, United are far from being out of it - an early goal changes the outcome of the tie and at Old Trafford they have the ability to grind out a win, but it's questionable with the squad they have that they will go any further.

Successful clubs always undertake a period of transition once in a while - it's impossible to maintain such high a level as we've previously seen - what is also key to success is stability and consistency.

Ferguson understands what Manchester United need and he has entrusted Moyes with his empire, it would be difficult to think that a man who has given his life and soul to the club would want to see all his hard work squandered. I admit time is a luxury in football, but Moyes deserves to be given time to implement his style when such esteemed figures at the club are willing to give him so much time and resources.

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