As manager of Manchester United, David Moyes is always going to take the blame when results go bad. That is just a fact of life that he must have known when he accepted the job to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson.
He has inherited a squad that somehow won the Premier League last year, but a lot of his critics can't look beyond that.
He has a squad that is not really good enough. One that is creaking with the big players not having much left in the tank to give to the cause.
They didn't buy in the summer. I don't know who you blame for that? Do you blame the manager, chief executive or the board for failing to make funds available for new recruits?
They have got big problems, and now is the time for the people who appointed Moyes to keep calm.
If they wanted a short-term fix, they would have given the job to Jose Mourinho.
The fact they went for Moyes on a six-year contract suggests to me they know there is some work to be done on the squad, and they are going to keep calm for as long as they can. They must not panic.
I think Moyes will be given this season and next season. A club of Manchester United's stature can afford not to win anything this season. I also think they can afford not to be in the Champions League for a season.
It will be a blow, but they will get over it.
It is all about what they do this summer, not January. The rebuilding job starts in the summer.
You must also allow some of the players to play their way out of Old Trafford which Moyes seems to be doing.
You give them this season, take what comes your way and make sure the players take their fair share of blame for failing this season.
You must also start to think about moving some of those failures on.
Your biggest voices in the dressing room have to be the best players on the pitch. I don't think that is the case at Old Trafford any longer.
There are people there living on past glories who can't do their own job any more.
Rio Ferdinand fits into that category as he prepares to retire at the end of the season. There is a reason why he is thinking about retiring.
He has nothing left to lend to people around him any more. Patrice Evra is another player who essentially can no longer cope with the demands of the Premier League. Certainly not at United.
It is a blow not to win anything, but United have to make sure that one season without a trophy doesn't become two then three, four...
All their efforts now have to be on getting their business done properly in the summer.
Sometimes the last people to realise are the club itself. United are still a fantastic club, but what they have is a very mediocre team.
Moyes didn't want to make too many rash decisions when he came into the job. How could he when the side won the Premier League by some margin last season?
He had to give them a chance, but it has not worked out. There were a lot of players turning out in the 2-1 FA Cup defeat to Swansea yesterday who were not signed by Moyes.
They are obviously not good enough. Sir Alex Ferguson was better at motivating this group of players than Moyes, but that might change when the new manager gets in his own group of players.
Players are brutal. Managers come and go, but players will use excuses when there are none to offer. They will happily hide behind them.
The Fulham manager René Meulensteen was a big loss to them on the backroom staff as he was apparently a superb coach, but there can be no excuses by players claiming they miss Ferguson or his preferred coaches.
It is not ideal for Moyes, but he is at least allowing these players to drown in their own lack of ability. That will make it easier to justify moving them on.
Times have also changed. United is no longer a club players will automatically join. They don't pay the biggest wages going.
United need to go back to the late 1980s. At that time, they felt like Fergie was the right man. They have to feel that Moyes is the right man now.
I don't think it is a good season if United beat Sunderland in the semi-finals and win the League Cup. For United to have a good season, they have to be in the top four.
Every time United come across one of the better teams in the league, they don't look capable of beating them.
Winning the League Cup wouldn't make it a good season, but it would paper over some cracks.
Nine times out of ten, United will lose to Manchester City. If they meet them at Wembley in the League Cup final, City will be hot favourites to win that match.
All Moyes can do is get to the summer making sure his rebuilding work is already well under way.
- Sports & Recreation
- Manchester United
- David Moyes
- Premier League
- Sir Alex Ferguson