Fault! The file name is not specified. David Moyes hopes to beat Man United for the first time since he left the club. CLIVE ROSE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
It’s been almost eight years, but David Mois finally comes out of the shadow of his nightmare in Manchester United. The Scotsman can seal his rejuvenation by sending West Ham United to the top four of the Premier League on Saturday, and he can do so with a victory over the club that almost broke him.
The 2020-21 season could not be predicted due to the effects of VIDOC-19. A shortened preseason, a late transfer window and an overloaded schedule have created a situation where Everton, Aston Villa and Leeds United can flourish and players like Jack Grillish, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Patrick Bamford have succeeded. Carlo Ancelotti reminded us of his elite management skills in Everton, as did Jose Mourinho in Tottenham Hotspur; Moyes, on the other hand, continued his work in West Ham without too much effort and brought stability and a sense of peace, which is no small thing.
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While the management of United proved impossible for Moyes after replacing Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer of 2013 and completing his resignation before the end of the first season, the task of restoring order and consistency at West Ham when he returns to the club for a second term has not been easy.
Although he earned a reputation as a proven leader at Everton for 11 years, from 2002 to 2013, his time at United seems to have undermined all that performance. He was beyond the depths of United and wasn’t ready for a job this size. Then Moyes made a bad career choice by accepting a no less difficult job. He was fired after 364 days at the head of Real Sociedad, after he had bravely, but perhaps naively, tried his luck in the La Liga. Then came the traumatic experience of Sunderland, where he boarded a sinking ship, predicted the battle for the lead after only two games and was right, as he continued to have a single career relapse.
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Steve Nicol emphasizes Fred’s mistake in Manchester United’s 3-1 Champions League defeat.
When West Ham first hired him in November 2017, it was a fire drill – as evidenced by the award of a contract until the end of the 2017-18 season. He supported them, but the masters wanted a bigger name; they let Moses go and called Manuel Pellegrini.
Then Moyes has been out of the game for 18 months. Everton had already decided not to reinstate him when they appointed Ancelotti. He wasn’t sure where his next chance would come from, so he took on the challenge of leaving West Ham in the Premier League amid the excitement of the fans, who were angry at the club’s poor transfer plan and the decision to leave Upton Park for the 2016 Olympic Stadium.
Moses is forgiven for thinking that his days were numbered at the top and that his time in Manchester would haunt him for the rest of his career. But even though West Ham approached him as a short-term currency, the result was something else and Moyez deserves praise for moving the club to a much healthier location. His contract expires at the end of this season, but he is unlikely to be told to leave.
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West Ham was in 16th place and a point above the dropzone when Moyez agreed to return to the London stadium. It can be seen as an act of desperation when he tried to revive his management career, but nevertheless it turned out to be a great solution for the manager and the club.
When Moyes entered the transfer market this summer at a total net cost of just £3.4 million, he changed teams and brought much-needed consistency to the transfer market.
So far, seven players have played in all ten Premier League matches, with Artur Masuaku (9) and Fabian Balbuena (8) slightly behind. Moyez has made Declan Rice one of the most impressive defensive midfielders in the country, and he has also revived Michael Antonio’s striker.
The principles underlying Moyez’s success at Everton – consistency, clarity and confidence in a group of key players – have returned to West Ham and old Moyez is starting to show his face again.
His bruises at Old Trafford have had a major impact on Moyes’ reputation, and for a 57-year-old man that goes way back in time. Since his resignation in 2014, he has not been able to win against United, losing twice and signing twice in four games. A victory on Saturday would not only bring West Ham to the Champions League, it would also serve as a kind of salvation for Moyes.
And perhaps it will eventually prove that he has overcome the greatest disappointment of his career.
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