Sir Alex Ferguson has stepped into Manchester United's deepening crisis to insist that the club retain their full support for David Moyes and has backed his beleaguered successor to deliver a strong finish to the season. Moyes has come under scrutiny after a difficult start to life at Old Trafford, with United out of the Premier League title race and both cups.
The former Everton manager was chosen by Ferguson to succeed him but his first campaign at Old Trafford has been a struggle, with his team 14 points behind leaders Arsenal. Moyes's hopes of securing a place in the top four are also under threat, but Ferguson, whose reign lasted 27 years, has reiterated that the manager's position is safe. "I can never understand why clubs change managers so quickly," he said. "They [board members] must discuss the qualities of the manager they are going to offer the job to [and] you must look at his CV - the character, the philosophy he has, surely.
"Now if that is the way they have gone about giving the man the job, why don't they persist with it? It seems so stupid to me." "There is no need to go down that road [of sacking managers]. United can do anything. They have got that great philosophy and history, they will always do well." Ferguson is holding out hope for a late United surge in one of the most wide-open title races in recent years. "This year for the first time it really looks as if five or six could be involved, so it's a great Premier League," he said.
"It's still not an easy league to win. I think the English game is the most honest and is the hardest league to win in terms of the competition you face. You can lose to anyone. "You have to say Manchester City are playing so well, but the teams at the top at the minute must have a big chance. Arsenal must have a big chance. Then you've got Chelsea, Everton, Tottenham, who are starting to do well. United always do well in the second half of the season, so we've got a fantastic league and we should be proud of that."
Ferguson has also insisted the responsibility is on managers to help prevent their players from diving. Ferguson was confronted with the problem at United with Cristiano Ronaldo and Ashley Young, while Moyes has endured similar issues this season. But Ferguson, who has been appointed as Uefa's coaching ambassador, believes the pressure is on managers to eradicate the issue.
He said: "It is an element of the game we don't like seeing. I have tried to address it myself with some of my players over the years. When Cristiano first joined us he had that dramatic action but he listened very carefully that you can't do that and he improved tremendously and has been an even better player because of it.
"We had an issue with Ashley Young last year or two years ago and he has tried hard to address it. It is up to the coaches, I think they have got to -influence players that they have to be better than that."