Man Utd fans turn on Ferguson after City derby humiliation
Stewards forced to guard Moyes 'Chosen One' banner after another Old Trafford nightmare
Manchester United 0 Manchester City 3. A goal from Edin Dzeko after 45 seconds sent Manchester City on their way to an embarrassingly easy win over their hosts, and at the end of the match, as United fans vented their fury, the only wonder was that the visitors hadn't helped themselves to more than three goals.
As it was, second-half strikes from Dzeko and Yaya Toure were damning confirmation for United fans how far their side has fallen in the space of nine months. Last season's champions are now in serious danger of missing out altogether on European football next season after their sixth home league defeat under David Moyes. Lying in seventh place, 18 points adrift of Chelsea, United are six points shy of fifth-place Everton (who enjoyed a 3-0 win away at Newcastle last night) and on course for their worst finish in the 22-year history of the Premier League.
And the result appears to have ushered in a new era of acrimony at Old Trafford. There were reports of fans turning on former manager Sir Alex Ferguson in the directors box, blaming him for the appointment of David Moyes, while stewards were forced to guard the banner proclaiming Moyes 'The Chosen One' as some supporters tried to tear it down.
"I take responsibility and always will do," said Moyes, whose side this season have lost more league games at Old Trafford than in the previous three campaigns combined. "I thought it would be a tough year but I hoped it would be more competitive.
United got off to the worst possible start when Dzeko was on hand to fire home the rebound after Samir Nasri's initial shot came back off the post, and Moyes admitted that from then on they were always playing catch-up against a side playing with more pace. "We never came out of the blocks," he said. "For Manchester City to score inside the first minute gave them a really big lift. I told the players at half-time that we wanted to start the second half stronger and that we needed to play in their half but we never really got that."
By the time Toure added City's third of the evening to inflict on United their tenth league defeat of the season, many of the United faithful had already left the stadium. Of those who remained some vented their anger at former manager Alex Ferguson sitting in the directors' box. According to the Daily Mirror a small number of United fans "rounded on the man who appointed manager David Moyes" and stewards had to prevent them ripping down the large banner proclaiming Moyes "The Chosen One".
Despite the crushing defeat, Moyes tried to strike an upbeat in the post-match press conference, telling reporters: "Everybody knows this is a job that is going to take a little bit of time to get the way we would like but that is the job. Other clubs have had to do rebuilding jobs - we hope it won't take as long as some others but we have a period of time to get to that level."
City manager Manuel Pellegrini described the victory as "important psychologically" in the title race. It maintains the pressure on Chelsea who lead City, now in second, by three points although the London side have played two more games.
Next up for City are Arsenal, like United a team in trouble. Hammered 6-0 by Chelsea at the weekend the Gunners were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Fulham on Tuesday evening and are now in danger of being overtaken by Everton in the race to finish fourth in the Premier League.