Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

MOYES MAY BE BETTER TO OPT OUT OF EUROPE ; Thursday Night Football Could Hurt Manager's Hopes of Turning around United's Fortunes.

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

MOYES MAY BE BETTER TO OPT OUT OF EUROPE ; Thursday Night Football Could Hurt Manager's Hopes of Turning around United's Fortunes.

Article excerpt

THE point will come - sooner, rather than later - when David Moyes has to ask himself a difficult question: does he really want Thursday night football? Week by week, the United boss has been forced to re-align his targets.

"You never write United off" is the old adage that has sounded increasingly hollow with each set back.

It will take more than the weight of history to alter the course of a season that continues to plumb new depths.

The defence of their Premier League title was written off in January.

The new target was Champions League quali-fication but, 11 points adrift of fourth-placed Liverpool, that too looks beyond an incoherent, inconsistent United.

The damning truth is that their Merseyside rivals are now more concerned with matters ahead than behind.

It would appear that only triumph in the Champions League would be enough to extend United's record total of 18 consecutive seasons in Europe's premier competition.

That would provide devilish satisfaction for United supporters - particularly if it were Liverpool who were forced out as the fourth- placed qualifying from these shores. But such thoughts are fanciful - even if Chelsea's success in 2012 offers cause for a certain amount of optimism that the improbable can happen.

In reality Moyes will be facing a new poser - namely the prospect of the Europa League.

Even that is far from a given with fifth-placed Tottenham eight points clear of United - although assistance could come from City if Manuel Pellegrini's side win the Capital One Cup, thus opening up another space in the league.

But assuming Moyes does find a way to turn his sides fortunes around between now and the end of the season, does he really need the inconvenience of the Europa League? The United manager will be under intense pressure to improve upon a hugely disappointing first campaign.

And switching his schedule to Thursday-Sunday football can be debilitating.

His priority next season will be to put United back in contention for the title and he can ill-afford their domestic challenge being compromised by the demands of Europe's secondary tournament. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.