Oh, David Moyes. The Manchester United manager has had a nightmarish first season with the club and it only seems to be getting worse. Taking over the from the most successful manager of all time was never going to be easy, but having the Premier League champions at his disposal should have softened the blow a bit. So how did it get to the point where his players are too embarrassed to leave the house and the fans have chartered not one, but two separate planes carrying messages urging his dismissal over Saturday's match at Old Trafford? Well, terrible results and dubious records are a good place to start, but Moyes has cut the brakes of his own runaway clown car by making a habit of making baffling, self-defeating declarations to the press.
These are the five that stand out the most (thus far). They are presented in chronological order because ranking their regrettableness is impossible.
1. "I think it's the hardest start for 20 years that Manchester United have had. I hope it's not because Manchester United won the league quite comfortably last year (that) the fixtures have been made much more difficult. I find it hard to believe that's the way the balls came out of the bag, that's for sure. But if it is a hard start for Manchester United, it is a hard start for everyone else because they have to play us.’’
This was Moyes' reaction to the fixture list before the season even began and the first tip-off that he might be out of his depth. Yes David, the fixture computer has become sentient and it has decided that 13 Premier League titles for Man United are fine, but 14? No way. (Meanwhile, Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore recently said that Man United's struggles this season "affect the Premier League brand.") As for that last line, well, try to stop laughing long enough to take a breath every few minutes.
2. "I don't know what we have to do to win. We played well today."
This came after a 2-1 loss at Stoke in February (Man United's eighth loss of the season). Yes, this was only a colloquialism of exasperation that followed a bit of legitimately bad luck, but does he know people (including his own players) are hearing the words he says into microphones? He knows they're not his personal voice diaries, right?
3. "Their league position suggests they are ahead of us and they possibly do come here as favorites. Liverpool are having a very good season and we will have to do everything we possibly can to beat them."
Moyes uttered this blasphemy before Liverpool went to Old Trafford. Sure, it was a correct statement, but how pathetic do you have to be to publicly state that your club's fiercest rivals are probably going to beat you in your own stadium? This even caught Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers off guard and he used to work with Jose Mourinho.
4. "I think we've played a very good side and it's the sort of standard and level we need to try and aspire to get ourselves to at this moment in time. I think we need to play better. We're needing to come up a couple of levels at the moment and we're not quite there."
Having already licked the boots of one rival, Moyes decided to go for the double after losing to Man City for the second time this season. As Moyes stated before the season began, Man United are the reigning league champions. They've also won 13 titles in the last 20 years. City have one won in the last 50 years. Man United established a standard under Moyes' predecessor. City are doing well. But it turns out David was only getting warmed up with his inadvertent insults of his own club.
5. "I actually think if Sir Alex was here this year it would be difficult for Sir Alex as well, and I'm sure he'd be aware of it. I think people are aware there's a squad that is a bit more aging, so I think it would have been a tough season for probably whoever was in charge of Manchester United this year."
Questioning his godlike predecessor? Check. Questioning his players? Check again. Using them both to make excuses for himself? That completes the hat trick!
At this point it should be noted that there are still two months left in the season. There's plenty of time left for Moyes to say all kinds of sad things.
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