Manchester United’s first season under David Moyes reached a new low on Sunday, when the current Premier League champions only managed to draw with bottom club Fulham.
United fell behind to a Steve Sidwell goal on 19 minutes, and they then set about finding an equalising goal. However, with fifteen minutes left, and with Robin Van Persie, Juan Mata and Wayne Rooney on the field, United still couldn’t manage to find a way past Fulham’s stubborn back-line.
But then Van Persie finally turned in a close range effort, and just 80 seconds later the comeback was complete when Michael Carrick’s deflected shot dropped into Fulham’s goal.
After such a tortuous match, United fans were happy just to take three points from the encounter, even though many of them had expected an impressive and dynamic rout of Rene Meulensteen’s beleaguered side.
However, they were eventually left with just one solitary point after Darren Bent scored an injury time effort. Old Trafford was left in shock with the collapse, which was a direct role-reversal of the injury time fortunes that United had experienced under their former manager, Sir Alex Ferguson.
Afterwards, David Moyes admitted to the BBC that Sunday’s encounter “was as bad its gets,” and he insisted that United deserved to win the encounter after they recorded 75% of possession and sent in a record 81 crosses as they tried to claim victory.
Moyes added, “There was only one winner in the game, and that was Manchester United. “I don’t know if we could have done an awful lot more. Maybe we could have defended a couple of times a bit better, taken a few more of the chances we made, but we completely dominated and we should have won the game.”
However, the lack of variation in United’s attack, which was summed up by the amount of crosses that they put into the area, left many supporters flummoxed.
Fulham defender, Dan Burn, even compared Moyes’ United side to an amateur team, confirming that he hadn’t “headed that many balls since the Conference;” which is the division four leagues below Premier League level. Meulensteen also added insult to injury when he described United’s attacking play as “straightforward.”
The Manchester Evening News summed up the local mood, when they used the provocative headline, “Sorry Moyes, this is just not good enough,” for Monday’s edition. United are currently 7th in the Premier League and it looks increasingly unlikely that they will qualify for the Champions League, as they now sit nine points behind in-form Liverpool.
Sir Alex Ferguson insisted that United fans needed to support Moyes during his farewell speech at the end of last season, but even he couldn’t have imagined that results would be this bad.