Manchester United fans right to question Moyes after sorry start

The champions' troubles continued on Saturday afternoon with a 1-0 defeat to Newcastle as they suffered back-to-back defeats at Old Trafford for the first time since 2002
By Greg Stobart at Old Trafford

Manchester United supporters are not used to this - and they made their views clear as those who remained of the 75,233 booed off the very players who were being worshipped as title-winners six months ago.

Even the most grounded of United fans could never have expected this to be the new reality under David Moyes, slumping on Saturday to back-to-back home defeats for the first time since 2002.

Between them, West Brom, Everton and Newcastle waited 97 years to win at Old Trafford this season - 41 years in Newcastle’s case - and they have Moyes to thank for ending that hoodoo.

The Scot knew that replacing Sir Alex Ferguson would simultaneously place him under a huge spotlight and in an enormous shadow.

He is still having to work with a squad he inherited from his predecessor, and he received little help in addressing weaknesses during the summer transfer window, but just about everything is going wrong.

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A banner in this famous stadium hails Moyes as ‘The Chosen One’ but, if anything, that just represents the weight of expectation on the manager.

For all the backing from Ferguson and the fact Moyes is on a bumper six-year contract, he will have to accept now that questions will be asked of him.

One of those is how a man who failed to win anything during 10 years as Everton manager was deemed as the best replacement for Ferguson in the first place.

Ferguson was able to get the absolute best out of his players and ensured United always maintained a psychological edge over opponents, but that has fallen to pieces under Moyes.

Teams are turning up at Old Trafford knowing they can make history.

“We had a psychology in the changing room that we were coming here to win,” said Newcastle manager Alan Pardew after his side’s 1-0 win.

“David might have to have a year when it’s touch and go for him but he’s a strong man and he’ll come through.”

Moyes was equally bullish despite watching his side fall to their fifth defeat of the campaign.

“I’m working with the champions,” he said. “It’s the same players who won the Premier League last year.

“I think the Manchester United supporters have been great to me and the club. They understand there’s a big transition going on here, but like me I don’t think they expected to have lost this many games.”

Moyes can forget about a title challenge and the focus now must be to make sure United finish in the top four and qualify for next season’s Champions League.

If they fail in that task, the knock-on effect of potentially losing players while being unable to attract the best in Europe could spell disaster for the club.

Moyes will be banging down the Glazers’ door for significant January investment in the midfield, with Michael Carrick’s absence being most keenly felt in recent weeks. Phil Jones and Tom Cleverley are not good enough while Marouane Fellaini looks like a £2 million player rather than £27.5m.

Without the suspended Wayne Rooney, who has been in superb form, United had no answers against Newcastle. They looked mentally shot and were all at sea tactically.

The anticipated bombardment in the final 10 minutes - a guarantee in the Ferguson era - failed to transpire as the visitors comfortably saw out their historic win, keeping the ball by the corner flag for virtually the whole of added time.

Recent comments from Robin van Persie, Rio Ferdinand and Wilfried Zaha have also hinted towards some problems among the players in adapting to the methods of the new boss.

Moyes is likely to be given at least the season to turn it around, but after an embarrassing week there will be people inside and outside the club asking if he’s the right man for the job after all.