“I feel sorry for him,” said Phil Jagielka, following Everton’s 1-0 win over Manchester United on Wednesday.
Jagielka was talking and almost comforting his former manager David Moyes, the man who’d just witnessed his United side undone late by a courageous and clinical Everton.
Following that crushing defeat a silence swept its way across Old Trafford and spread into a worried red half of Manchester.
But many have long been talking about the good, the bad and the ugly of Moyes’ time on the Old Trafford throne so far.
And I’m sure people firmly believe the job – handed to him by Sir Alex Ferguson – was going to be a curse of some kind. Because how could he better what his fellow Glasweigan had achieved.
But the job wasn’t and isn’t a curse. It’s an opportunity and one, for the most part, that Moyes looks to be enjoying and relishing, most notably during and after United’s 1-0 victory over table topping Arsenal.
However, I firmly believe the Scot has created his own curse, one that only he can break.
After his Everton backroom staff jumped aboard Moyes’ United ship in spring, a tricky summer in the transfer market, without the expertise of David Gill, followed.
Midfield talents were pursued, many of who could be associated with United’s greatness. But none came to pass. Not Moyes’ fault, certainly not.
On deadline day however, Moyes agreed to pay a seriously inflated price – one of the club’s most expensive ever player purchases - for Belgian footballer Marouane Fellaini.
‘That was strange, maybe a mistake’, many thought, but…. ’hey, maybe he’ll cause some trouble, and give United something different up top when and if he plays’.
Fellaini hasn’t played even close to the forward line as of yet. In fact, the curse of the purchase has only deepened.
Moyes has insisted on playing Fellaini in the pivotal central midfield role, asking the man he so often played at number 10 for Everton, to effectively be both an offensive play-maker and defensive guard in United’s ranks.
Anyone who knows about football will know that only a seriously good player can fulfil such expectations, especially consistently at a top club.
Sadly for United followers, the team has been exposed too often, with Fellaini neither attacking with purpose or defending with assurance. I’m all for giving people a chance, but it’s almost too late. More than anything Fellaini cuts a lost figure playing in the wrong position, surrounded by a circle of players who are in the right positions.
Fellaini’s inclusion in the first eleven, in the centre of midfield, has added up to draws and losses and only one win, against a timid Bayer Leverkusen at Old Trafford.
Against Everton on Wednesday evening, United were truly exposed, and at times desperately lacking control.
It resulted in Everton’s first win at Old Trafford in more than 20 years and sent United plummeting to ninth in the table.
Of course, the points dropped while Fellaini has started games, can’t solely be down to him.
But patterns – especially losing ones – have to be spotted by Moyes and sorted rapidly.
With Fellaini being one of United’s biggest ever buys, maybe Moyes feels he has to play him.
Maybe he just believes Fellaini will come good.
Unfortunately I , like many no doubt, don’t believe Fellaini playing central midfield does, or will, improve United.
It sends the team in an opposite direction and the club’s current position in the Premiership reflects where the ship might head and dock, should action not be taken.
Essentially, unlike Jagielka, I don’t feel sorry for David Moyes. And I doubt many United fans and football followers do either.
I support him, like Sir Alex urged fans too during that famous speech at the end of last season, but I can’t support what blatantly isn’t working. It’s become akin to a points dropping policy.
Yes, losing Carrick has been a big factor in the recent results downturn.
But I believe Moyes’ selection of Fellaini in central midfield is the main reason Moyes is currently wondering how to overturn a 12 point deficit with a third of the season almost gone.
Realise it now Mr Moyes and your United might starting pulling the tails of the teams in the top four.
Keep picking Fellaini in the centre and risk not breaking a curse that has already been so costly.
I’ll end by saying – what would Sir Alex think?