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Stoppage Time: Honeymoon is officially over for Moyes

By Tim Keeble, Soccer Editor

(Sports Network) - David Moyes knew what he was getting into when he agreed to leave Everton and take charge of Manchester United at the end of last season.

Moyes would be stepping into the shoes of a legend in Sir Alex Ferguson, the man who brought 38 trophies to Old Trafford, including 13 Premier League and two Champions League titles since he arrived in 1986.

But after Sunday's humbling 4-1 defeat to rivals Manchester City there is no doubt that Moyes is beginning to understand the magnitude of the task at hand.

United was thoroughly outplayed by City and found itself 4-0 down after 50 minutes, with Wayne Rooney's late free kick providing little consolation.

It was the kind of game that United will be quick to forget, while also serving as a reminder of how far the team still has to go.

Two seasons ago United sustained an embarrassing 6-1 home defeat against City with Ferguson at the helm.

And while the result certainly stung, United responded by collecting 25 of 27 possible points over its next nine matches to at least soften the blow.

Moyes will need a similar run of good form himself to help United right the ship.

"If ever there was a group of players I would expect [a reaction from] that is Manchester United players," Moyes said following the City defeat. "They react and that is what they will do. Every manager has bad days and bad results. I am no different. I talked with the players the same as I would at any other clubs. They are good pros here and they know when they are bang at it and when they are not."

The 50-year-old Moyes has been done no favors with a tough early schedule that included trips to City and Liverpool as well as a home match with Chelsea in the first five games.

But United collected just one point from those three contests, which won't do much to endear Moyes to United supporters.

The former Everton boss also failed to deliver in the transfer window this summer as he was unable to land the type of difference maker in midfield that the club required.

Players like Thiago Alcantara, Cesc Fabregas and Mesut Ozil were each linked with a move to United this summer, but Moyes was unable to secure the signature of any them.

Instead the boss shelled out $44 million on Everton's Marouane Fellaini on transfer deadline day, a move that was widely criticized as a panic buy considering Moyes had added nothing else to that point.

The game on Sunday illustrated United's need for midfield reinforcements as City's Yaya Toure dominated the middle of the pitch despite the presence of Fellaini in the starting lineup.

A transition period is expected to take place from one manager to the next at any team, but at United that honeymoon doesn't last very long.

After all this is a club where supporters view league titles as a birthright and where success is expected more so than celebrated.

At Everton Moyes could finish in the top six and be considered a success. Anything less than another league title at United is viewed as a failure.

The next five games in the league will offer United a chance to pick up some more points as the five opponents in those matches have combined to win six games to this point in the season.

It certainly isn't panic time at Old Trafford, but there is no doubt that for Moyes it's time to deliver.

09/23 13:42:41 ET


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