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Season 2011-12
The Mail Bag

Managerial Instructions

 51 Comments: First  |  Last

I know this has been mentioned in the past, with different angles and opinions, but I thought it was interesting. In today's 'Times' Mickel Arteta pointed out how surpised he was at the simplicitiy with which Arsene Wenger sent his players out to do their jobs.

He is reported as saying: "Players aren't weighed down with 40 different instructions..... six or seven clear ideas and that's it."

Compare and contrast with our illustrious manager. My opinion, for what it's worth, is that Moyes has lesser quality players to work with in many cases – surely a good reason for keeping instructions more simple rather than making them more complex!

Tony Pickering, Dorset     Posted 22/11/2011 at 09:02:17

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Frank Duffy
1   Posted 22/11/2011 at 13:19:11

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Good point, Tony. If you look at Moyes during a game he is nearly always on his feet shouting out instructions to the players. No wonder they look so confused. The top mangers hardley open their mouths. Think this tells a lot.

You would think pre-match talks would cover at least the first few minutes of a game. But not at Everton!!
Noel Lynam
2   Posted 22/11/2011 at 13:17:27

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My opinion, for what it's worth, is that if Arteta had said Wenger gives 40 instructions, compared to say 6 or 7, then some people would see this as conclusive proof that Moyes, Round et all are useless and cannot coach / manage their players.

You say "Moyes has lesser quality players to work with in many cases ? surely a good reason for keeping instructions more simple rather than making them more complex!"

I'm not sure that there's a direct correlation between a footballer's "quality" and their ability to retain information and act on instructions.
Tony J Williams
3   Posted 22/11/2011 at 13:26:25

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Or maybe due to the lack of skill/judgment, said players need to be reminded of their duties.

Arsenals team is far more superior to ours, so I would imagine that he could say to Van Persie that he needs to go out and play how he wants, whereas Moyes would have to explain to Vellios that he needs to look for space and move away from the defender, get back when not attacking etc.

Then again, that Wenger, he's shit isn't he? 6 years and no trophies. He should have one one in that time frame surely?
Eugene Ruane
4   Posted 22/11/2011 at 13:23:49

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Agree totally.

I''d love to hear Moyes miked-up for a game as I have NO idea what he can be shouting (nb: to professional footballers who have done nothing but play the game since they were 8)

"Kick it... better!"

"Trap it... properly!"

I'm reminded of the (animated and shouty) former Scotland boss, Ally MacLeod, who during the 1978 World Cup (according to Willie Johnstone) spent most of his time giving his players the highly technical 'instruction' "Come on, Scotland!!"
Tony J Williams
5   Posted 22/11/2011 at 13:49:58

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"Trap it... properly!" Eugene, it's clear that he isn't shouting this enough.
Gavin Ramejkis
6   Posted 22/11/2011 at 13:48:30

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And no one has asked what is it with those tatty bits of paper and a 20-minute read with Steve Round before being allowed onto the pitch... Surely a striker knows what a goal looks like and a defender knows what a ball is and that he needs to tackle the opposition and pass it out?
Peter Laing
7   Posted 22/11/2011 at 13:54:33

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The beautiful game really is that simple and should be about letting players express themselves in their natural position.

At Everton we often having players being played out of position, the old 'square peg in the round hole' scenario, which in my opinion will therefore require greater coaching, discipline and managerial awareness. A prime example being the role and position of Lee Carsley who was instrumental to making the team tick and has been cited by a number of the more senior pros still left at the club as the heartbeat of the side.

I would love Moyes to be a little more ambitious and trust less on his own (defensive?) instincts and give the likes of Barkley, Gueye and Vellios a number of games / run in the side and try to establish a new team based upon youthful exuberance.
Sean McKenna
8   Posted 22/11/2011 at 13:59:40

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Surely one thing Moyes should shout is "Jags, you cunt, hoof it again lad, and I'm taking you off!!"

I believe Moyes believes his own hype, he thinks by constantly shouting instructions, it is somehow going to make us play better. At times I get embarrassed when he shouts constantly ? he reminds me of an over-protective father watching his sons play.
Tony J Williams
9   Posted 22/11/2011 at 14:13:43

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"Should be about letting player's express themselves in their natural position" ? or realising that they should move into space to receive a pass, not stand on the shoulder of an opposing player.

It is a simple game, pass and move into space, unfortunately it is played by simple people who lack the forethought of actually moving to receive a pass....lazy overpaid feckers.
John Hughes
10   Posted 22/11/2011 at 15:44:54

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I know the game has changed over the years but I remember listening to Alan Hansen at a Sportsman's dinner, describing Bob Paisley's pre-match "talks". Basically, he said that he would mumble a few sentences that no-one understood anyway and they would go out on the pitch and do what they were paid to do ? play footie!

Hansen said that, unless there was something really out of the ordinary that they had to consider about a team, they just went out and played the way they had done all week in training. As Tony J Williams says; pass and move into space............easy really!
Tony J Williams
11   Posted 22/11/2011 at 15:55:04

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"I get embarrassed when he shouts constantly" - Why?

Why would you be embarrassed for our manager shouting out instructions to his under-performing players?
Brian Waring
12   Posted 22/11/2011 at 16:30:42

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Arteta did an interview with Sky the other day, and at the end of it he says about his move to Arsenal, "For me, it was the chance to stay in England, and move to London, try a BIGGER club, and a club that wants to PLAY FOOTBALL ALL THE TIME."
Tony J Williams
13   Posted 22/11/2011 at 16:49:40

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Brian, that's because they....gather in close now so I can whisper....... they have far better footballers than we have....
Alex Kociuba
14   Posted 22/11/2011 at 16:52:05

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Moyes Rule #1

Jagielka to pump the ball up-field at every opportunity, regardless of whether there's any Blue shirts there.
Brendan McLaughlin
15   Posted 22/11/2011 at 16:53:13

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Brian #12

Shock, horror...Arsenal have a different style from us. You'll be telling us next the earth isn't flat.
Brian Waring
16   Posted 22/11/2011 at 17:00:24

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Or Tony, Brendan, he was pointing out how good it is to actually play for a team who want to play football, instead of dour, defensive, negative one-paced football like he had to endure with us.
Stephen Kenny
17   Posted 22/11/2011 at 17:00:54

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Come in close so I can whisper "so do Swansea".
Tony J Williams
18   Posted 22/11/2011 at 17:06:26

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Stephen, I agree.

Alex, I actually think rule no 1 is to get it to Baines to see what he can do with it, as he seems to be the only one with a bit of creativity in him at the moment.

Rule no 2 is to pass it to Coleman and shout, "Run, Forrest, Run!"
Jeremy Benson
19   Posted 22/11/2011 at 17:10:06

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You do have to wonder what happens in training, if come match time instructions are being given after 90 seconds, as if they've never played before.

Having started to watch regularly my local non-league team, and being literally 2ft from the halfway flag, one of the things I first noticed (apart from the fact that despite being about 12 divisions below the Premier League, the standard of football was good and no diving/rolling around/injury breaks), was the amount of verbal instructions.

Managers shouting instructions/comments, captain shouting instructions/comments, players shouting instructions/comments. Most of the time in complete conflict with the previous one.

A lot of these comments get the refreshingly simple "Fuck off" from the player involved, but mostly, there's just so much going on that no-one can really take any notice of anything, and people just crack on and play as they were/think.

And I mean, really ? when you're losing 5-0 to an obviously superior team, just what is the point of shouting to your players to "work harder"?
Brian Hill
20   Posted 22/11/2011 at 17:14:00

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Moyes has nothing more to offer to Everton. He looks burnt out, uninterested, counting out time. His players and their performances reflect this exactly.

The tragedy for our club is that "The Biggest Evertonian", an increasingly comedic figure, can and will do nothing to rectify and/or improve the situation. The lies continue to pour out of his mouth, his acolytes continue to believe them, and Everton continues to deteriorate.

Moyes has always been a "shouty" manager, if I were him I would be screaming, and it wouldn't be at the players.
Sean McKenna
21   Posted 22/11/2011 at 17:51:31

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Tony J, you would think having managed the team for all pre-season ? all week before the match, the players would understand the job they have been asked to do!! He shouldn't have to shout constantly!! What other manger does that?

Embarrassed when the mics pic up Moyes shouting at Hibbert to throw the ball to Ossie! I mean ffs, the lad knows how to take a throw-in... let him choose the best option!! Or how about the classic Jag hoof then the scream to Saha "Go on, Louis." Fucking schoolboy stuff.
Dean Adams
22   Posted 22/11/2011 at 18:16:23

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He has to shout a lot to justify to himself that he is getting paid about 3 times the average annual wage... every week!
Tony J Williams
23   Posted 22/11/2011 at 18:45:08

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"You do have to wonder what happens in training, if come match time instructions are being given after 90 seconds" ? Probably because the first minute will show him how the other side have been set up and his instructions are about how to counteract and beat them.
Nick Entwistle
24   Posted 22/11/2011 at 18:43:29

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The better the player the easier the game becomes.

When you have as much possession as Arsenal you're reducing your worries.

If... no, can't think of any more. But for Arsenal:

Instruction 1 Pass
Instruction 2 Pass
Instruction 3 Pass
Instruction 4 Pass
Instruction 5 Pass
Instruction 6 Shoot
Instruction 7 Dive
Tony Cheek
25   Posted 22/11/2011 at 18:44:22

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What DM should shout is:

"Tim, watch those bleeding long shots!"
"Hibbo, you ARE allowed to get in their box!"
"Jags, not ANOTHER 50 yd pass!"
"Felli, get your bleeding haircut lad!"
"Seamus, get your head up son!"
"Denis, get on there and score some goals!"
"Bill, do us a favour and sell up!"

Well, it might help a bit!
Richard Dodd
26   Posted 22/11/2011 at 18:48:23

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Granted that Arsenal generally have better players at their disposal, I feel that Moyes has proved a far better defensive coach than Wenger. Indeed, Chelsea's AVB could learn a few things from our maestro in this direction!

Unfortunately with the emphasis on defence, our man has found it far more difficult to drill both midfield and forward players in the arts of fashioning and scoring goals at t'other end whilst having one eye on making sure opponents don't nick one!
Anthony Jones
27   Posted 22/11/2011 at 19:20:44

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Anyone who has played footy will remember one or two players who just knew where to be, what pass to choose, when to change direction, when to hold the ball up, and when to shoot etc. They tended to walk into centre mid or centre forward and nobody would argue about it.

Most of these lads obviously weren't professional and had comparitively no coaching to pro footballers.

I imagine that the pros are at least as good and most likely better than the players I'm talking about.

This begs the question of whether pros need much attacking coaching at all. I doubt that they do.

Sadly, Moyes, Mcleish, Capello etc. coach their players to death. They kill creativity and freedom of expression. It has been said before but this anti-football approach is predictable and dull.

But worse still it is sinister, as it feeds the manager's ego at the expense of the players that serve him.


Wayne Smyth
28   Posted 22/11/2011 at 19:43:43

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I'm not surprised one bit to read this. Moyes micro-management is something I've noticed for years and posted about before.

It's always annoyed me that Moyes seems intent on dictating every hoof, header and fart that happens on the pitch. These players are professionals at the top of their game with more footballing ability than Moyes ever had, yet he seems to want to treat them like children.

This style of coaching also explains why the team largely look afraid to do anything remotely risky, such as get forward or move into space unless they get a shout from Moyes to do so. Lest they get a bollocking or get dropped to the reserves for 3 weeks.

It also explains why players sometimes arrive at the club and play really well, but end up looking shit after a few games when the coaches have managed to work with them. They're probably completely confused about what they can and can't do and end up doing fuck all.
Jeremy Benson
29   Posted 22/11/2011 at 20:04:30

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Re: Tony @ 22

You mean teams playing 4-4-2, or 4-5-1, will come as a shock?

It's not rocket science, is it?
Stephen Kenny
30   Posted 22/11/2011 at 20:04:17

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To be fair to Moyes I remember reading an interview from Arteta who said for the most part Moyes left them to play amongst themselves, or something to that effect.

I think coaching is the wrong word for this as you obviously can't teach vision etc. but you can point out that "quite often player X will run out of position when his team attack down the right, so get yourself in that space and you lot look for that pass" etc.

I see that type of thing as tactical awareness and something the manager should bring to the table. I'm not confident that he does... based on the fact we set up to play almost every game the same way in the same fashion.
Jamie Sweet
31   Posted 22/11/2011 at 20:21:37

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If every day at work, my boss came to me and told me in great detail, how to do my job correctly, I would think that my manager doesn't believe in my abilities.

I am a great believer that installing confidence in your team is one of the managers most important roles. I don't think that Moyes does all he can to generate confidence amongst the squad. In fact, I think that he believes that they perform better when he knocks them down a peg or two.
James Stewart
32   Posted 22/11/2011 at 21:05:54

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I agree with the earlier post about Moyes's constant shouting from the touchline is just embarrassing. Some of the things he shouts at hibbert are patronising to the extreme.

I simply find Moyes frustrating and irritating to the extreme and look forward to the day he leaves.
Brian Waring
33   Posted 22/11/2011 at 21:13:35

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Stephen (#17) out of order! I was about to say that, but I was going to throw Norwich in as well.

And before someone says that we will finish above Swansea and Norwich, we probably will. The point is you don't have to have the better players (ie Arsenal) to get a team playing football.
Mike Allison
34   Posted 22/11/2011 at 21:40:39

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On your Level One FA coaching badge you get told to shut up and 'let the players play'. I'm generally a supporter of Moyes in most debates on this site, but I do wish he'd shut up and let the players play more often.
Jamie Sweet
35   Posted 22/11/2011 at 21:48:35

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Mike #33 - Moyes was off sick the day they did that module. He was also sick the day they went through attacking strategies, how adopting a positive attitude to games can reap rewards, attacking substitutions and how to counter-attack from a defensive corner.

Luckily he excelled at defensive stategies, playing ten men behind the ball, gettng your wingers to track back and defending a 0-0 lead, so much so that he passed the badge anyway. Lucky for us eh!
Brendan McLaughlin
36   Posted 22/11/2011 at 22:13:37

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Jamie #34
I know but thats why I sent him all my back copies of "Roy of the Rovers" so there's absolutely no excuse why the ginger twat doesn't have our midfield playing free-flowing football evoking memories of the great Brazilian sides. I mean that Pep fecker at Barcelona doesn't even have his Level 1 Coaching Badge wait a minute...clink, clink (sound of pennies dropping by the way)
Dick Fearon
37   Posted 22/11/2011 at 22:16:11

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He is criticised for carrying on like a two bob watch and when he dosen't he is accused of losing interest. What a mixed up lot you are.

My grizzle is the two pages of instructions before a sub goes on. If such detailed advice is really necessary, the players must be thick headed.
Chris Butler
38   Posted 22/11/2011 at 22:31:25

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I've always thought it was a stupid thing to do even in normal games on a muddy field. You always have the wannabe Fergie on a sunday league pitch shouting away despite the fact nobody is listening. When you're on the pitch you just get on with the game.
Matt Woods
39   Posted 22/11/2011 at 23:19:57

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Today's professional footballers have been getting coached from the age of seven. By the time they reach the first team you would think they all would have a great touch, be comfortable on the ball and be able to pick a pass? Surely on a weekly wage of £25k this would be the bare minimum of expectations.

I believe the vast majority of players are average at best at Everton, however they can do the basics. The problem is that rather than actually attempting to play an intelligent brand of passing football, the players carry the coach's fear onto the park with them. Jags smashes long balls, he is an England International for ffs.

Everton always ask forwards to run the channels or ask Cahill to be a nuisance......this is not top level football. You never see European sides play like this, it went out with the ark. Why the fuck do we play like this?

The answer is David Moyes's pathological fear of playing attractive football. Some will say it gets results, but fuck me we want results by being entertained. We are Everton, we should be demanding results with stylish football. Anything less belies the tradition of our magnificent club.
Eric Myles
40   Posted 23/11/2011 at 01:37:29

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Reminds me of the scene from "The Damned United" where all the Leeds players had no idea what to do against QPR because Don Revie used to have a dossier on every player in every team and give the Leeds squad explicit instructions on the opposition before each game.

Clough's reaction to their inability to think for themselves was "Stop Stan Bowles, that's all you need to know about QPR."
Jason Lam
41   Posted 23/11/2011 at 01:35:43

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Football has changed a lot in terms of physical fitness and tactics over the years. Unless you're Maradona or Messi and can open defences single-handedly (no pun intended), the sum of the parts is greater than the individual.

Players can run marathons at each match, built like He-Man, and every team plays Total Football in that they cover then entire pitch. For middle- to lower-tier teams like us, unfortunately goals will always be rarity and so we need to rely on set-pieces or waiting until we have enough numbers before Baines cross. All this requires coordinating a total team effort which is what Moyes is shouting about as we are not coached like a well-oiled PES team!

And in the modern game, having 9 men behind the ball is a proven way to suffocate the opposition even if they're Barca/Spain. Moyes the General is barking instructions all the time, not unlike an American Football coach spoon-feeding tactics to the quarterback (who then relays the instructions to the other zombies).

As for Arsenal, they simply play like everyday in training, it's on automation. And it also explains why Arsenal's defence is crap if all they do is pussy foot around every other day of the week.
Mick Davies
42   Posted 23/11/2011 at 02:39:58

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I can't stand fat butcher's-head Allardyce but one thing he does which I wish Moyes would copy is to watch the first half from the stands. This way, he can get a better all-round view of what players are doing/not doing right. He would be away from the volatile pitch area and able to read the game in a calm and relaxed manner.

Then, for the second half, he could go down to the technical area after advising his players during the break and having made any necessary adjustments, sit back and enjoy watching his side tear the opposition to pieces...
Dermot Ryan
43   Posted 23/11/2011 at 04:36:06

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Sort of off topic, but because I don't get to the games, I'm really curious to hear from those who do get to Goddison regularly what exactly Moyes shouts. For instance, what are the patronizing things he shouts at Hibbert? Can anyone remember any really classic "Moyesiesms"?
Tony J Williams
44   Posted 23/11/2011 at 12:00:02

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"For instance, what are the patronizing things he shouts at Hibbert?" ? Not worth asking, as he could just make it up and unless someone else who sits near the dugout responds, we don't know if it's true or not.

"Re: Tony @ 22

You mean teams playing 4-4-2, or 4-5-1, will come as a shock?

It's not rocket science, is it?"

You know exactly what I mean, a 4-5-1 played with an attacking midfielder is different than a defensive one, the wingers may crowd in the middle, not stay out wide. The actual formation alters and players switch position. It's not as east as, "it's 4-5-1 so the team will definitely do this".

Also, if it's so easy, why are people criticising Moyes so much then?, obviously the other manager can easily nullify any threat posed.

It's actually piss easy this managing lark, just count the players and where they are and it's Bob's your uncle. Where's the number for the FA Coaching badge section?
Daniel A Johnson
45   Posted 23/11/2011 at 12:15:45

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Someone please answer this:

Tony J Williams
46   Posted 23/11/2011 at 12:17:59

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Probably to listen to the physio when he is on the pitch looking at a player to let him know if a sub is needed.....don't know what's wrong with the old finger across the neck signal!
Robbie Muldoon
47   Posted 23/11/2011 at 12:09:58

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I sat by the dugout this season, I heard Moyes basically shouting at the wingers (well centre midfielders playing on the wing) to stay wide.

Ross Barkley was the focus of much of his shouting when he came on against Man United.
Tony J Williams
48   Posted 23/11/2011 at 12:44:55

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"I sat by the dugout this season, I heard Moyes basically shouting at the wingers (well centre midfielders playing on the wing) to stay wide" - Fuck me, what a patronizing twat he is, telling his wingers to hug the line. I mean they never float infield do they?

"Ross Barkley was the focus of much of his shouting when he came on against Man UNited", He was in the Lower Gwladys too but it was usually, "Pass the fucken thing" or "fuck me Barlkey lad", when another pass went astray.
Stephen Kenny
49   Posted 23/11/2011 at 12:51:34

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Daniel A,

He listens to Smooth FM, cos that's how Roundy rolls!!!
Jimmy Kelly
50   Posted 25/11/2011 at 20:54:26

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I don't quite understand where some of you are coming from.

Basically, you appear to be saying that football is incredibly easy to play and Moyes giving them too many instructions is unnecessary. However, you then blame him for the team's woes. Clearly this doesn't make any sense; if it's so easy why don't they just say sod this and play the way they want? And why does anybody employ a manager?
Eugene Ruane
51   Posted 27/11/2011 at 12:00:42

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Jimmy, re shouty Davey, you say..

"Basically, you appear to be saying that football is incredibly easy to play and Moyes giving them too many instructions is unnecessary. However, you then blame him for the team's woes. Clearly this doesn't make any sense".


Seems to make sense to me (HOW does it not?)

Maybe it would help if you changed your interpretation - 'easy to play', with (the more accurate) 'does not have to be overcomplicated'.

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