There will be fallout from the derby day disaster. Manchester United were torn apart by an up for it City and David Moyes’ baptism of fire has burned him. The wounds from yesterday are still fresh and it will take some time for fans to be able to look at the performance objectively, but some perspective is needed.
United have taken seven points from a possible opening 15 that included games against Chelsea, Liverpool and City. Ideal? No. End of the world? No. A start to the season like this would have been a very tough task even for Sir Alex Ferguson and most fans would have been happy had we been on nine points by this stage. We’re only three points behind our biggest rivals.
United have played worse than we did at Anfield and come away with something. On the day, it wasn’t meant to be and although Liverpool would have you think they completely outclassed us, they didn’t.
Against Chelsea, Mourinho came to park the bus and he did. It was Moyes’ first game at Old Trafford and despite our best efforts to break down their brick wall, Chelsea soaked up the pressure and earned the point they came for.
Up until yesterday, City were hardly in form. They had dropped points against Stoke and lost away to Cardiff already in the league but form is irrelevant on a derby day. It all depends on what team turns up, and United didn’t. Last year at City, United had a similar lineup and formation and we won the game, so Moyes can be forgiven for thinking it could have happened again.
There have been seasons where United have played poorly against our title rivals yet we have still won the league. The first five games will not define where we finish this season but how we respond to what happened against City yesterday will.
United’s next five Premier League games are against West Brom, Sunderland, Southampton, Stoke and Fulham. They are games you would hope to see United take 12 points from. A strong reaction in the face of adversity has always been the United way and Moyes knows that – a win against Liverpool on Wednesday is a good way to start as the bubbling pool of discontent would simmer back down.
Moyes hasn’t got through the start of his career unscathed but all the talk of doom and gloom after just five games is too subjective.
Naysayers are a common breed among modern football fans. The influx of money into the sport has almost eliminated the concept of patience and results are expected to be immediate even in the face of a tough reality.
Everyone needs to remember just how big a task Moyes has been given. He replaced our greatest ever manager and had our hardest ever start to the Premier League. Transitions take time. There are bumps along the way and Moyes is only just getting started.
At the start of his tenure, Moyes was never going to take unnecessary risks. Rotation was not an option for him in the face of big games one after the other. Now that we’re past it, he can start to experiment. This squad is still all very new to him and he is yet to find what works best for him. In the next five games, he needs to do that.
Moyes has the full backing of Ferguson and the club. He isn’t going anywhere. If Ferguson had the belief and confidence that Moyes was capable of replacing him, who are we to say he was wrong? He was United manager for nearly three decades and there was nobody better placed to know a suitable replacement. Fans need to stand and support him in the face of adversity because negativity will do nothing to help the club.
Yesterday’s loss to City was damaging but not destructive. The season is still young and there are 99 points still up for grabs in the league.
The important thing is that Moyes learns from what happened, uses the lesson and makes sure the mistake is never repeated.