Man United fighting for dignity, not the title, after Everton loss
Fallen champions lose at home to Everton for the first time in 21 years as Moyes despairs
EVERTON'S winner at Old Trafford may not have come in Fergie-time proper, but it was the third time this season that David Moyes's team have conceded a crucial goal in the dying moments of a match.
Under Alex Ferguson last-minute goals became a United trademark, the most famous examples coming in the Champions League final of 1999, but so far this season they have been going in at the wrong end, and it highlights how things have changed for United, now under the leadership of the former Toffees boss, Moyes.
Bryan Oviedo's strike in the 86th minute handed Everton their first win over United at Old Trafford since 1992, and followed in the footsteps of Adam Lallana's 89th minute equaliser for Southampton in October and an injury-time strike from Kim Bo-Kyung that earned Cardiff a draw last month.
To make things worse, fans up and down the country were soon chuckling that after 12 years of trying, Moyes had finally seen Everton win at Old Trafford. Even Gary Lineker used the gag on Match of the Day.
It was a night that "overflowed with indignities" for the new United manager, says The Guardian. "Everton, without Moyes, have improved. United, with him, have deteriorated."
United are now as close to Fulham in the relegation zone as they are to league leaders Arsenal, notes Mark Ogden in the Daily Telegraph. "Even the most pessimistic of Manchester United supporters must have wondered how it had possibly come to this."
The likes of Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho have been quick to insist that United are not out of the title race, but Moyes must have privately relinquished the title. He will now be looking at other targets. "Unless they improve quickly, they will have a real fight on their hands to finish in the top four in a season in which improvements at Everton and Liverpool have increased competition in that regard," warns Oliver Kay in The Times. Everton’s win puts them five points above the champions.
After the game Moyes admitted his side would have to win an "awful lot of games" in the run-in if they wanted to retain their title. More telling was the length of the press conference, says The Independent.
"[It] was one of the shortest the stadium has known in recent times - two minutes and eight seconds - revealing the extent of the manager's despair," reports the paper. ·