We needed bodies in the middle of the park because that’s where the recent derby games have been won or lost. Cleverley was never going to stop Yaya Toure, it was never the intention but having three in the middle gave us a chance of having a presence there.
“We wanted to make sure we had enough midfield players.
“We wanted to make sure we had an extra player in middle of the park,” Moyes explained.
However, the reality was as far removed from the logic as is humanly possible.
At one point, Cleverley and Fellaini were stationed out on the wing and Carrick was left in the middle on his own looking like a spider in a bathtub, scrambling for support but finding nothing.
Instead of playing a narrow 4-3-3 that the line-up suggested we would, the players were leaving huge spaces between each other and there was no cohesion in the side at all. It looked like the players didn’t know what they were doing.
If we were going to play with width, then why put Cleverley and Fellaini out there when you’ve got the likes of Antonio Valencia on the bench?
Manchester City capitalised and United crumbled under the pressure. We carried as much attacking threat as a four year old with a wooden spoon, blunt and only good for stirring the proverbial pot of discombobulation.
Against West Ham last weekend, United stuck Fletcher and Fellaini in as two fixed central midfielders and it allowed Shinji Kagawa, Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata to run riot in front of them. It was as balanced a performance as United had mustered all season.
Moyes chose to not follow that philosophy against City but the line-up suggested he had another tactic in mind, an idea ready to be put into practice.
The reality was that your average fan in the Stretford End had more clue as to what was going on than Moyes and by the time the final whistle was blown, it was a relief more than anything.
The players looked like a pub team of strangers who had quickly been rushed together for a spot of Sunday fun.
Is this what United have come to?