Signs of supporter unrest at Old Trafford could prove costly for David Moyes

As Manchester United fans start to turn on David Moyes, Sports Mole looks at how the Scot made a rod for his own back against Manchester City.
WARNING! This article contains strong language and/or content that some readers may prefer to avoid.

While Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow were announcing the end of their 10-year marriage yesterday evening, the relationship between David Moyes and the Manchester United supporters was showing signs of being at breaking point after just nine months.

The current feeling at Old Trafford can best be summed up by a line from one of Coldplay's most famous songs, written by Martin: "Nobody said it was easy. No-one ever said it would be this hard."

The harsh reality is, Moyes has been making life more difficult for himself from day one, culminating in last night's 3-0 defeat at the hands of rivals Manchester City, which bore a striking resemblance to the mauling suffered at the hands of Liverpool just nine days earlier.

Manchester United manager David Moyes during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford on October 19, 2013© Getty Images

For over two decades, United fans have watched their team, under the stewardship of Sir Alex Ferguson, "knock Liverpool off their fucking perch". Now, they've been informed by Moyes that City - a club that has spent the majority of their 134-year history in United's shadow - are at the level that their side should be "aspiring" to match. This coming after he had openly admitted that Liverpool were favourites to win their recent encounter, he wanted his side to make life difficult for Newcastle United and he was content with a 2-2 draw at struggling Cardiff City.

The errors against Manuel Pellegrini's men became apparent as soon as the team news was released at 6.45pm. Tom Cleverley, a midfielder bereft of confidence, was hung out to dry by his boss. The England international had not started a match since February 25, yet rather than using games against West Ham United or Aston Villa, which sandwich the City fixture, to ease him back into the fold, Moyes opted to throw the 24-year-old into the lion's den with Yaya Toure and co. Then, with City in the ascendancy early on, Cleverley was moved out wide on the right - a position largely alien to him - before being taken off at the break, injured according to Moyes.

Meanwhile, Spaniard Juan Mata must have looked on at his fellow countryman David Silva with envious eyes. While United's club-record signing operated once again out of position, Silva, freed from any shackles, was given the freedom of the Old Trafford playing surface by Pellegrini. Shinji Kagawa, who shone at Upton Park at the weekend, was dropped, brought on to replace the ailing Cleverley then told to operate on the right and left flanks, rather than in the central role where he caused West Ham numerous problems.

Then there was the decision not to start with a naturally attack-minded player wide on the right. There may not have been many weaknesses in that City starting lineup, but defensively, they've been suspect down their left. Moyes, though, decided against using any of the three players (Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia and Adnan Januzaj) available to him to exploit that frailty.

David Moyes the Manchester United manager looks on prior to kickoff during the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Manchester United at Selhurst Park on February 22, 2014© Getty Images

Bizarrely, there was no room within the 18-man squad for Ryan Giggs. The 40-year-old may not be the future, but such are the deficiencies within the United midfield, he remains their most potent performer in the centre of the pitch - a fact that he highlighted a week ago in helping his side to qualify for the Champions League quarter-finals at the expense of Olympiacos.

To cap it off, with United trailing 2-0, Wayne Rooney - United's main goal threat - was restricted back into the midfield, where contrary to popular belief, he is not effective. Time and time again the reported £300,000-a-week frontman will surrender possession with wayward long-range pass after wayward long-range pass in that position.

It was left to two of United's most successful ever players to provide damning verdicts. Pre-match, Paul Scholes, making a rare appearance in front of the cameras as a Sky Sports pundit, admitted that he was "surprised" that Valencia was not included in the side, while during his post-match summation he said: "When I was playing, we could be two or three down but we never felt we were beaten. Tonight I never thought we'd get back in it, even at 1-0 down."

Scholes's former teammate, Gary Neville, weighed in with: "[United] need to have a rethink about where they are going. There is no pace and power going forward. At the moment they have an identity crisis." Both also spoke in amazement that Giggs did not feature.

A general shot of the David Moyes banner at Old Trafford on March 25, 2014.© Getty Images

It all proved too much for one supporter, who during the second half bounded down the stairs of the South Stand to demand from Moyes that he resigned. He was eventually removed by stewards and a further 10 more were required to prevent 'The Chosen One' banner on the Stretford End from being torn down.

Even Ferguson, sitting in the directors' box among the likes of vice chairman Ed Woodward, did not escape the abuse. Having anointed Moyes, the former United manager bore the brunt of the anger from the home faithful.

In the wake of the Liverpool humiliation, this scribe wrote this feature, in which it was suggested that the match-going United supporters would have a big say on how much time Moyes would be given to reverse the ongoing and alarming slide. If yesterday is anything to go by, the patrons are rapidly losing both faith and patience.

Even the most ardent of United followers would not expect anything but defeat against Bayern Munich next week. Another pummelling, though, could prove one too many.

Wayne Rooney celebrates scoring against Manchester City on January 08, 2012.
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