Having one of your key players criticising your tactical acumen after a particularly difficult defeat, and you’re in trouble. Having it as common knowledge that the player in question doesn’t really rate you or your management techniques and you’re in big trouble. Having all that and increasing pressure from the dans because you’re having difficulty emulating one of the most successful managers in the history of the British game and you’re David Moyes! But the beleagured Manchester United manager could just do himself a massive favour if he simply asks himself what Sir Alex Ferguson would have done in a similar situation. i think the answer is simple.
Never one to take kindly to players considering themselves as bigger than the team, the Scot would have drummed van Persie out of the team in fairly short shrift. Remember how quickly another Dutch striker, Ruud van Niistlerooy was given such shrift? Swift and decisive action now could show the rest of the squad that their new man in change has, as the Spanish say it, ‘tener cajones!’
Such a move could also actually benefit the cohesion of the team as a whole into the bargain. Eliminating van Persie would allow Moyes to push Wayne Rooney forward into the striker’s role, and slot Juan Mata into his favoured ‘number ten’ position where he can influence the game rather than being shunted out to the flanks where he looks lost and away from the action.
It’s often said that a problem presents its own solution if only you can see it at the time. This could just be such a case for Moyes. With the postponement of the Manchester derby this weekend, due to City’s involvement in the Capital One Cup Final, Moyes has a bit of thinking time before United’s next match against West Bromwich Albion. Before that however, there’s the international friendlies due to take place next midweek.
Should van Persie return from Holland duty with a slight knock, it may make the decision easier, but it would also lessen the benefit. When you’re down, the only way is up, and if Moyes can convince himself to drop the troublesome Dutchman, and trust the player that has, more than anyone else in the squad, performed at a high level, Moyes may just salvage his season – and his job.
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