• Football

Eight shambolic results which brought United to their knees

ESPN staff
February 26, 2014
Manchester United's performances under David Moyes have led to fans calling for him to be sacked © Getty Images

In any other season, defeat to Olympiakos in the Champions League on its own would have been enough to set the alarm bells ringing at Manchester United.

But in this woeful campaign such a serious setback is little more than the latest humiliation. As under-fire manager David Moyes searches desperately for a solution to United's growing problems, these are the blows which have left his club reeling:

It's record-breakingly bad for United

Wilfried Bony scored the winner for Swansea © PA Photos
  • 1. United lost their first match to a Greek side in European competition on Tuesday night.
  • 2. They have already lost eight Premier League games, one short of the club's record low of nine.
  • 3. United are on the verge of failing to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 1995, sitting 11 points adrift of fourth place with 11 games to go.
  • 4. Defeat by Swansea this term meant United failed to reach the fourth round of the FA Cup for only the second time in 29 years.
  • 5. United are just two Premier League home defeats short of their record low of six, which they suffered 12 years ago.

Liverpool 1-0 Manchester United, Premier League, September 1, 2013

With Liverpool making their best start to a Premier League campaign in nearly two decades, United were coming to terms with the loss of Wayne Rooney to a head wound. They lacked creativity at Anfield and Moyes suffered his first loss as United manager.

"I thought we played really well. Apart from the lapse in concentration for their goal, we played well," Moyes said, putting a brave face on defeat to bitter rivals.

Manchester City 4-1 Manchester United, Premier League, September 22, 2013

The "noisy neighbours" humiliated Moyes in his first taste of a Manchester derby when United were outclassed by Manuel Pellegrini's side from start to finish. A late Rooney free-kick may have been a brief highlight, but the manner of the defeat started the alarm bells ringing.

"I just told the players the way I would have told them at any other club if I didn't think they were doing well," Moyes said. "They're good players, they're good pros, they know when they're bang at it and when they're not."

Manchester United 1-2 West Brom, Premier League, September 28, 2013

From humiliation on one level, to another on a completely different scale. Moyes' shaky start continued as West Brom secured their first win at Old Trafford since 1978, leaving United to reflect on making their worst start to a league campaign in 24 years. Moyes refused to buckle though, insisting they could still get things right.

"You're always going to have bad results in football, it is how you deal with them," he said. "We will move on and look forward to the next one."

Manchester United 0-1 Everton, Premier League, December 4, 2013

Moving on was something United certainly failed to do as Everton returned to Merseyside with all three points after Bryan Oviedo struck four minutes from time. Moyes' former club took with them another landmark: their first win at Old Trafford in 21 years, and it the travelling fans made the most of him as they taunted the Scot on the touchline.

Yohan Cabaye delivered all three points for Newcastle © PA Photos

Manchester United 0-1 Newcastle, Premier League, September 7, 2013

Just four days later, languishing ninth in the table and 12 points off the top of the Premier League, United tumbled at home to Newcastle. Fortress Old Trafford had lost its intimidating aura completely by now, with Yohan Cabaye's goal giving Newcastle their first league win there since 1972.

Somehow, Moyes remained defiant. "I stand firm that we will be very close to [the title], and will be in and around at the end of the season," he said.

Manchester United 1-2 Swansea, FA Cup third round, January 5, 2014

United hoped for better in 2014 but the crises kept coming as a Premier League defeat by Tottenham at Old Trafford on New Year's Day was followed by the loss of another silverware target.

Swansea secured something which was only just still an upset by scoring in injury-time, despite only having 10 players left on the pitch. Like West Brom, Everton and Newcastle, the Welsh side also ended an Old Trafford record, celebrating their maiden victory at the ground.

"When you lose games at any club, it's difficult," Moyes said, his tone finally revealing the turmoil behind the scenes. "We've got a big game on Tuesday."

Sunderland 2-1 Manchester United, League Cup, January 7, 2014

The "big game" United now looked forward to was the opening leg in the semi-finals of the League Cup, but it went from bad to worse. Defeat by Sunderland preceeded United losing three matches in a row for the first time since 2001.

Sunderland, not surprisingly, celebrated another landmark win in a season that has seemed to deliver one everyone - except United. They brought to an end a run of 21 games without a win against United stretching back to 2000 and Moyes' side went on to lose in a penalty shoot-out in the second leg.

Olympiakos 2-0 Manchester United, Champions League last 16, first leg, February 25, 2014

United, 11 points off a qualification place for next season's Champions League via the Premier League, saw their hopes of gaining entry by lifting the trophy seriously damaged on Tuesday night and now there is nowhere for Moyes or his players to hide.

"I take responsibility, it's my team and I'll always front it up," Moyes said. "It was the worst we've played in Europe."

Manchester United lost for the first time to Greek opposition in Europe © PA Photos
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