A familiar pall of melancholy settled on Vicarage Road on Sunday afternoon, with the glum, existential grimace of David Moyes making yet another return to the Premier League sidelines. And, in keeping with Moyes' entire career since 2013, it ended in misery: a 2-0 defeat in which West Ham defended poorly and offering nothing from an attacking threat. Their attacking plan, if it could called that, was for defenders to lump the ball forward in the faint hope that Andy Carroll would be there. He rarely was.
There was a general toxicity about West Ham with the travelling fans berating players with shouts of "you're not fit to wear the shirt", while the board were widely derided by the fans, too. Moyes did not take any flak: not even he can be criticised for not doing anything wrong before doing anything.
But the signs are not good for Moyes. The golden rule as a manager is not to call out your players in public, yet Moyes inexplicably elected to do so after the game.
I always thought this was a big job. Some big players with big reputations disappointed me a lot. I thought they would show me more. They need to show me why they have got that reputation. I don’t enjoy the performance and I expected us to do better. We tried to stay in the game and give ourselves a chance – and we probably did – but overall it was not good enough.
Some may say that this is Moyes is laying down the law, but surely the place to do this is on the training ground or in the dressing room, behind closed doors?
Moyes went on to call for unity at the club.
We need a united club. I know that’s hard if you have grievances but I said to the players at the end that it’s hard to play when the crowd’s like that. The small things can make a big difference but I can understand their frustration because we didn’t play well enough. We need to find a way to make sure we get the club together.
Surely a manager's public criticism of the players is inimical to a united club?
Moyes has had difficult jobs in the past....this one is no easier.
[Quotes via Guardian]