Another Never-ending Saga
by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (August 12th 2013)
Manchester United’s new manager David Moyes joy at winning his first trophy didn’t even last the post-match press conference – not his fault. Robin van Persie picked up where he left off last season with a brace – one fortunate, the other magnificent.
Just before the hour mark James Perch was unfortunate to deflect van Persie’s shot into his own net, but with just 6 minutes played van Persie showed his class with a sublime header to convert Patrice Evra’s cross.
“It was a great header, 16 yards on the angle into the side-netting,” Moyes said. “I’ve been really impressed with Robin. He’s been easy to work with. He’s been really receptive and helpful. We tried to manage him at the right times by playing him for some minutes and not(for others). He’s so important we have to look after him at the right times. Today he came up with the goods again with his goals.’
Moyes graciously gave credit to his predecessor Sir Alex Ferguson. “I class that as another piece of silverware for Sir Alex (Ferguson) really,” Moyes said. “It was his team that won the Premier League last season so I see today as for Sir Alex. The ones going forward will be down to me.”
The managerial merry-go-round that saw Moyes replace Sir Alex created a vacancy at Everton that was filled by former Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martínez, whose FA Cup victory over Manchester City signalled the beginning of the end of Roberto Mancini’s reign at Manchester City. Martínez’ decision to leave Wigan was Owen Coyle’s opportunity.
Coyle matched Moyes’ grace. “’I’ve no doubts David Moyes will be very successful,” he said. “He will take Manchester United from strength to strength. He’s replaced the best manager we’ve ever seen in club football, but he was the right person for the job, no doubt about it. It’s great for up and coming British managers to see a club like Manchester United going with David Moyes because he has earned that right. I was hoping he would be successful after today, but I’m sure he will go from strength to strength.”
Nevertheless, Moyes must wonder what it takes to get the message across. Time and time again the Premier League champions have insisted that Wayne Rooney is not for sale. Rooney has been described as being “confused and angry” over Moyes’ comments which have been interpreted as Moyes declaring that Dutch striker Robin van Persie is top dog at Old Trafford.
Rooney, it is claimed, wants to be the main man, but Moyes’ comments – never clarified – have not suggested that Rooney would not play in attack under Moyes, or even that he is second fiddle to van Persie.
The Dutchman was the leading scorer for Manchester United last season. It’s natural that he would be Moyes’ main striker, but that is far from suggesting that Rooney has no place in the Red Devils’ attack. Moyes’ comments could just easily mean that if van Persie gets injured – hardly an unprecedented occurrence during his spell in North London, Rooney will be needed to pick up the slack caused by his absence.
It’s telling that Moyes has never been asked to clarify exactly what he meant – whether Rooney would be second fiddle or needed to deliver even more if anything happened to van Persie. Yesterday was no different. A raft of questions relating to Rooney’s absence, but none seeking clarification.
After reiterating his and Manchester United’s position on Rooney for the umpteenth time, Moyes was asked to do so for the umpteenth and first time. “Is it still the club’s policy that he won’t be sold?” Moyes said. “Correct. Am I concerned everyone says he wants to go? That’s right. He’s not for sale; no change at all. There’s no other answer to that question. Why keep an unhappy player? I heard your question. Good.”