• Premier League

'United should've expected Moyes' slow start'

ESPN staff
March 14, 2014
David Moyes has endured a poor first season at Manchester United © Getty Images

Manchester United should have expected David Moyes to make a slow start to life at Old Trafford, according to a psychologist he has worked closely with at two clubs.

The club have endured a poor first season under Moyes, who succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer. They are 18 points adrift Premier League leaders Chelsea and look highly unlikely to finish in the top four places.

Moyes' side also face a tough task to qualify for the Champions League quarter-finals - and next year's competition - after a dismal 2-0 last-16 first leg defeat to Olympiakos in Athens.

Slow out of the blocks?

David Moyes at Everton in 2002 © Getty Images
  • David Moyes enjoyed instant impacts at the two clubs he has previously managed, saving both Preston North End and Everton from relegation after taking over late in the season.

    2001-02 (took over in March): 15th

    2002-03: 7th

    2003-04: 17th

    2004-05: 4th

    2005-06: 11th

    2006-07: 6th

    2007-08: 5th

    2008-09: 5th

    2009-10: 8th

    2010-11: 7th

    2011-12: 7th

    2012-13: 6th


    1997-98 (took over in January): 15th - Division Two

    1998-99: 5th - Division Two, beaten in play-off semi-finals by Gillingham

    1999-00: 1st - Division Two

    2000-01: 5th - Division One, beaten in play-off final by Bolton

Questions being raised about Moyes' suitability for the job but performance psychologist Michael Finnigan - who worked with him at Preston and Everton - says the United manager was never going to be an instant success at Old Trafford.

"I know David Moyes. I have not changed my mind about him one bit," Finnigan said. "He is absolutely awesome - but he is not the kind of guy you can just drop into a situation and expect him to grasp it all instantly."

"You have to give him time to get his arms around it and really understand it," Finnigan explained in an interview with BBC Sport.

"That is who he is. Your due diligence would tell you that. I am pretty sure Everton chairman Bill Kenwright would say Moyes' first couple of years at Goodison Park were not easy because he was getting used to everything.

"If you can't deal with that, don't give him the job.

"If I was advising the people at United who appointed Moyes, I would have said 12 months ago: 'Are we sure we have the right person? Do we really understand why we are appointing this guy?

"What is the realistic/optimistic/pessimistic assessment of how this is going to go - and do we have a plan for each of those situations?' Please tell me that as a board of a multi-billion dollar company you have thought about all these scenarios and have a plan for each one.

"Please tell me this is not a surprise. I am not having that. These guys are paid big money to have those conversations and have that strategic foresight.

"This is Manchester United. The amplification of your actions is massive. The reality is that everything you do is going to be scrutinised.

"It is all very well being yourself at Everton, but at Manchester United it is much more difficult.

"I am sure you can start thinking about what will happen to the share price if you don't win this game, or that two million people are about to hit Twitter if you lose that one. You can stop being yourself and start doing what you think you should do, rather than doing what you are being paid for.

"I know him well enough to know if he just does that, he will be fine. He is good enough to be there and deserves to be there."

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