This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Speaking during a Q&A session at the Durham Union Society, David Moyes has opened up on some of the regrets he has from his time managing Manchester United.
The Scot was given the unenviable task of trying to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer of 2013, a campaign which had seen the Red Devils lift the Premier League title.
Moyes however struggled to get to grips with life at Old Trafford, and was sacked just ten months after taking up the reins. Now, the former Everton boss has opened up on the struggles he encountered in managing United, and revealed his disappointment at not being able to have some of the side’s key players in their “prime”.
He said: “I thought I fitted what Manchester United stood for. United had always stood for giving the managers time, giving them an opportunity, playing young players. But in the end they’d gone along with the others, they’d had to try and keep up with them.
“Everything couldn’t be changed, it had to be done slowly. In a way, I wanted to follow everything Sir Alex had done – why would I not? And the club worked that way. Obviously, personality – players realising that I’m not Sir Alex, I don’t manage in the same way as Sir Alex, which means that they would need to change also. That problem made it difficult for us.
“I wish I had got the Manchester United players in their prime. I wish I had got (Nemanja) Vidic, (Rio) Ferdinand, (Ryan) Giggs in their prime, because when I had them they were great players, but in their prime they were top players.
Taking over from someone like Sir Alex was almost always going to be a poisoned chalice. Because quite simply, how do you live up to one of the greatest managers the sport has ever seen? As Moyes alludes to, he arguably wasn’t helped in his quest by the likes of some of his best players nearing the ends of their careers, and he desperately needed for them to be at the top of their game.
In his final season in charge of the club, Ferguson was given Robin van Persie to fire the Red Devils to the Premier League title. Moyes got Marouane Fellaini. Whilst the Scot may not have been the right man for the job – certainly in hindsight – he really did take on the impossible job at United.