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Moyes' position untenable at Manchester United

22 April 2014, 10:17

Manchester - David Moyes is set to pay the price for Manchester United's spectacular and sudden decline by being fired as manager of the deposed English champions, with his departure potentially being sealed on Tuesday.

United stayed silent Monday, refusing officially to guarantee Moyes' future at Old Trafford amid widespread reports in online stories by British newspapers that his 11-month tenure was about to end after losing the support of the board.

It appears Moyes' position has become untenable since Sunday, when United lost 2-0 to Everton in the Premier League to ensure England's biggest club over the last two decades will miss out on Champions League qualification for the first time in 19 years. It also left United seventh in the league, a season after winning its 20th championship by 11 points, and on course for its lowest league finish since 1990.

Even being the so-called "Chosen One" — a nickname given to Moyes after he was hand-picked for the position by predecessor Alex Ferguson — is unlikely to save the 50-year-old Scot, who signed a six-year deal at a club famed for preaching the values of stability.

Leading British bookmakers have all slashed their odds on Moyes being removed and many of Tuesday's newspapers are reporting Ryan Giggs, a club great who is on the coaching staff at United, could take temporary charge until the end of the season.

"They're going to have to clarify this position quickly," said former United defender Gary Neville, who described the club's handling of the situation as "repulsive."

"The average manager gets sacked every 12 months and I've always felt Manchester United should be different, hold themselves up as a club that basically stands against what's happening in the game."

Neville's brother, Gary, is a member of Moyes' coaching team.

Moyes has been unable to continue the success of Ferguson, who ended his 27-year reign at the end of last season after winning the league for his 38th major trophy as United manager.

Moyes guided United to the quarterfinals of the Champions League, losing to Bayern Munich, but the team's domestic form has been woeful by its high standards.

United is 23 points behind current leader Liverpool, 13 adrift of the Champions League places, and has slumped to a string of humiliating losses including to fierce rivals Liverpool and Manchester City at home.

United has been defeated a club-record 11 times in the league and 10 times in 22 matches in all competitions in 2014.

The deposed champions appear ready to spend considerable sums over the summer to strengthen its squad but their American owners, the Glazer family, may not be willing to trust Moyes to oversee such heavy spending.

He was indecisive in the transfer window in the last offseason, bringing in only Marouane Fellaini from former club Everton for 27.5 million pounds ($43 million), and the Belgium midfielder has been a disappointment. United broke its club record transfer fee to sign Juan Mata for 37.1 million pounds ($61.2 million) in January but Moyes has been unable to regularly play the Spain playmaker in his best position.

Dutch coach Louis van Gaal and Borussia Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp have been linked with any possible vacancy.

With fan backing appearing to ebb away, Moyes said after the loss to Everton that United was "on track" in its transition period post-Ferguson.

"We are rebuilding," he said, "we have got things we want to do.

"The supporters have been incredibly behind the team and supported the team throughout. They realize it has been a difficult season ... They understand it has not been good, I recognize it has not been good, it needs to be better."

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- AP


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