P ing, goes the e-mail alert. Click, goes the delete button. There are few more irritating sights than that post-defeat reaction from the Sunderland manager arriving in your in-box with such illuminating words as “really disappointed” and “finding it tough”.
We know, Dave. It’s “tough” watching the resolve of your defence last less than 60 seconds.
Results alone – particularly when they have been no better than under Di Canio or Dick Advocaat – dictate that Moyes is under pressureCHRIS YOUNG
Football is awash with these meaningless sound-bites, none of which resonate with ordinary supporters.
It’s one of the repercussions of the Premier League going global, and managers and players having to trot out the same waffle again and again to various media outlets.
But it WAS intriguing to hear David Moyes turn the spotlight of blame on his players after the Crystal Palace shambles.
It’s a risky ploy, but it’s difficult to argue with Moyes on that point.
How can he legislate for Patrick van Aanholt (yet again the repeat culprit at the start of the season) attempting to head the ball clear with his foot?
How can he legislate for Jan Kirchhoff (whose body language just hasn’t looked right of late) allowing Christian Benteke to take a running-jump at a corner?
And how can he legislate for Javier Manquillo bundling into Connor Wickham when the ex-Sunderland striker was merely attempting to wind down the clock?
Sunderland’s players need a far stronger streak of concentration and maturity if they are to stand a prayer.
For one, it would be nice to see someone other than Lee Cattermole, Jermain Defoe or Jordan Pickford open their gob and deliver the odd rollicking.
But even though every man and his dog is well aware that the managerial roundabout is a prime reason why Sunderland continually remain in this turgid state of affairs, how much is pressure is Moyes himself under now?
The fingers are being by pointed by supporters and it’s somewhat understandable.
If Sunderland lose to West Brom on Saturday – and by hook or crook, they really can’t afford that – then the Black Cats will be just as bad off as they were at the same stage of 2013-14 when Paolo Di Canio had presided over that infamous start.
They’ll even be a point worse off than last season, and look what an effort it needed from Sam Allardyce’s men to rescue that one.
Results alone – particularly when they have been no better than under Di Canio or Dick Advocaat – dictate that Moyes is under pressure.
As usual at Sunderland, there are factors far beyond the manager for the team’s struggles.
Too many of these players – as previously mentioned – lack mental toughness and requisite game-management skills.
The FA’s prolonged pursuit of Allardyce (how’s that worked out?) disrupted Sunderland at a critical moment in the club’s recent history.
And for all Ellis Short props up Sunderland’s annual losses financially, the chairman is undoubtedly a common denominator.
All summer long, the noises emanating from those in or around the club were that Allardyce and then Moyes were operating on a summer budget. Then, hey presto, £13.5million arrives in the final hours of the transfer window to sign the untested Didier Ndong. That has to raise questions.
But while Moyes was thrust into a cursed role, he hasn’t helped himself.
For all the financial limits, Moyes’ buys have been hugely questionable.
At present, the team is no better for their arrival. Quite the contrary in several cases.
Sunderland don’t look as if they have a clear strategy, other than ‘hope Jermain Defoe scores’.
Watching Burnley’s win against Watford earlier this week, the Clarets were light and day from Sunderland – moving the ball quickly, getting crosses into the box and putting bodies into the area. Simple, but effective.
Burnley may be relegated for lacking sufficient quality, but at least they possess a plan.
Moyes doesn’t look like a man who necessarily believes that the juggernaut is going to change course either.
Those comments last month that Sunderland were facing another relegation fight were perhaps one of those occasions when he would have been best to trot out a handful of tired platitudes.
Despite that, Short – who has made no secret of his admiration for Moyes – surely can’t even begin to be contemplating another change in the dug-out.
As was the case with Allardyce (and to some degree Gus Poyet and Martin O’Neill) Sunderland need to stick with a manager for two or three years, regardless of which division they are playing in. It’s only then that the cycle will be broken.
Whether that’s realistic is a different matter.
It’s a brutal, financially-driven, impatient game nowadays.
That’s why even at this ludicrously early stage of his Sunderland career, the heat is rising.