Friday, April 25, 2014

Meulensteen opens mouth, inserts Moyesian foot

Rene Meulensteen just doesn’t care if anyone likes him, does he?

The former Anzhi and Fulham boss – and Manchester United coach – yesterday hit the headlines for self-reporting that he didn’t think David Moyes understood the size of the Manchester United task that faced him, and that the Ginger Chosen Replaced One was like a captain going down with his cruise ship.

The comments, both in nature and timing, reflect far more poorly on Meulensteen than Moyes. Despite ructions with his former charges, since his departure from Old Trafford on Tuesday David Moyes has been the picture of dignity; this screams of Meulensteen – who probably had irons in the fire with Anzhi when he and much of United's coaching staff were let go last year – repaying a nine-month-old debt. By kicking a man while he’s down.

Despite helming three clubs, Meulensteen’s best moment as a manager came in a 2-2 draw with Moyes’ Red Devils in February. That was later the source of a mild controversy when one of his younger players compared United’s tactics to those of a team four divisions lower. Meulensteen was replaced by Fulham only days later, whereby he obliquely accused his former employers of “pushing the panic button”.

It’s been an open secret around Europe that Meulensteen, despite being a extremely respected coach, sees himself as far more. These comments provide evidence that he carries himself with the arrogance that befits a manager. However, coaching kudos an overstated arrogance does not necessarily a manager make – just as tactical acumen and the ability to compete on a budget does not.

This is a man who, as an unemployed coach/manager, is trying to ingratiate himself with people of authority? Did Meulensteen think about how this might reflect in future job interviews?


Moyes still has plenty of people who rate him very highly and would employ him in a heartbeat; even those without a direct connection to the latest member of the sacked managers club might shirk at the sound of a relatively-unpopular-someone trying relatively-rather-clod-hoppingly to take advantage of a principled-if-perhaps-tactically-misguided-other-someone’s misfortune.

His comments on a vanquished foe were opportunistic self-promotion of the sleaziest type. As such, they reflect poorly on a man who so obviously has future management opportunities in mind. 

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