MANCHESTER, England (AP) - When Manchester United overlooked Jose Mourinho and chose David Moyes to be the successor to Alex Ferguson, the club gambled on a manager without a winning mentality or experience of European soccer - and with no trophies on his resume.
Instead, United went for someone with a track record of loyalty and building a dynasty, as 11 relatively successful years at Everton would attest.
It quickly became apparent, however, that Moyes lacked the gravitas for one of the biggest jobs in club soccer, that he was too satisfied with a mediocre level of performance, that he was in awe of the team rather than ready to rebuild it.
In short, he was a man out of his depth.
“I thought we played very well” was Moyes‘ assessment of what most experts found to be a poor display by the reigning champions. With more performances like that, he added, United would surely finish “in or around the top four.”
It was to be a recurring theme.
United took Moyes out of Everton, but not the Everton out of Moyes. United great Ryan Giggs will serve as interim player-manager for the remainder of the season pending the hiring of a full-time replacement.
Before United’s home match against Liverpool, Moyes declared the visitors to be favorites. “I was surprised,” Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers remarked on Moyes‘ lowered expectations. “I would never say that at Liverpool - even if I was bottom of the league.”
What was to prove his last post-match news conference also came on Merseyside, this time at Everton on Sunday. United had just been beaten - actually, dismantled - 2-0 by an energetic, tactically aware Everton side.
United fans probably saw it coming, though. Moyes admitted on the day he was presented as the new manager that “the blood drained from my face” when he was approached by Ferguson and told he would be the man to take the club forward.
The job and the task of rebuilding an aging team that Ferguson squeezed the best out of proved too much for Moyes.
Convincing Wayne Rooney to commit his future to United was regarded as the most pressing item on his to-do list. That was accomplished. He also successfully established talented winger Adnan Januzaj as a first-team squad member.
On a playing level, he achieved little else.