Under pressure Sunderland boss David Moyes is the latest subject of Manager Files as we take a look at the tactics, mannerisms, demeanour and touchline antics of the game’s top bosses.
Not quite the man at C&A but Moyes consistently refuses to roll the dice in the fashion stakes. Dark suit, blue shirt and a red & white tie where the order of the day on Saturday. Occasionally likes to wear jogging bottoms and a jumper sporting his initials. In a nutshell, the Glaswegian dresses with the same type of caution his teams defend set pieces.
Moyes, without the injured Lee Cattermole and Adnan Januzaj, was desperate to oversee a first Premier League win since taking over the Sunderland hot seat in July. He sent them out playing 4-3-3 with Duncan Watmore and the recalled Wahbi Khazri instructed to help Jermain Defoe fire the bullets up front.
When it became clear Sunderland were coming off second best against the Baggies, Moyes was brave enough to switch to 3-4-2-1 and his team were duly rewarded with Patrick van Aanholt’s equaliser.
With the home crowd getting more and more restless and his players arguing with each other it didn’t look great for Moyes, who rested his weary head on his hands on more than one occasion at the Stadium of Light, looking not unlike a depressed Bruce Forsyth impersonator at times.
Yet the former Manchester United boss – usually one of the more animated Premier League coaches in the technical area – was clearly ecstatic to see his side level the match with just seven minutes to go.
He’s very much a man under pressure but will have been pleased the Black Cats are not going into the international break off the back of another loss.
What they said
Van Aanholt’s late leveller brought a smile to Moyes’ face and he was unusually upbeat as he addressed the media afterwards saying “West Brom are the masters of not conceding goals but we kept going. It’s a disappointment because we need wins but we’ll take something from this. I’m glad we were able to give the supporters something.”
On his use of Van Aanholt, Moyes added: “We had been training Pat further forward this week in a couple of sessions to see how it looked. But the one thing with Pat is he gets some goals – he scored the goal against Middlesbrough.
“He’s got a couple of goals already, Pat, which if you said at the end of the season a left-back gets you two, three, four goals, you’d be saying that’s quite a good return.
“But what we need is everybody else to get the goals, then it looks like your left-back has done well.”
Having seen Sunderland labour so often this season – they have now taken just a solitary point from home games against Crystal Palace and West Brom – it’s clear that Moyes has an absolutely huge job on his hands to keep them in England’s top tier.
Jermain Defoe, usually lethal around the old onion bag, spurned two decent chances on the day and after the match, in a nod to those who hold the financial purse strings at the Stadium of Light, Moyes candidly admitted “We don’t have any forward attacking players to make any changes to our play and what we do.”
*Thinly-veiled ‘if you don’t give me some money to spend in January on a striker or two we are going down’.
There are two ways to look at Saturday’s result. On the one hand Sunderland doubled their points tally for the entire season in drawing 1-1. On the other they are bottom of the league and still searching for a first win after seven league games.
The bookies, who are right far more often than they are wrong on such matters, have chalked Moyes up at just 11/4 to become the next manager in the Premier League to leave his post.
In a bizarre twist Sam Allardyce, who walked away from England under a dark cloud recently, is just a 6/1 chance to go back to Sunderland having kept them up against the odds last season. It was Jimmy Greaves who used to remind us that football was a ‘funny old game’. And he was right.