David Moyes is facing the axe. After four fixtures in La Liga, Real Sociedad are without a win and are in relegation zone with just two points, level with bottom club Levante. Furthermore, the social divide is very obvious among the supporters and the breach between the former Manchester United manager and his players is irremediable.
Real Sociedad's first month in La Liga is the most disappointing since the Basques were relegated in 2007. Even the most pessimistic of fans expected a couple of victories against two newly promoted teams (Sporting de Gijón and Betis) during this period. But the team is performing poorly, without a determined style. Long ball tactics, improvisation in the attacking phases and loads of flaws in defence have contributed to their downfall.
The former United boss was just 10 months into a six-year deal when his torturous spell in charge at Old Trafford was brought to a premature end. Poor results and a very controversial relationship with his players were the main factors that saw him fail to succeed in Manchester. And it just so happens that exactly the same reasons may conclude his adventure in Spain.
The Basque Country is a place in which humility is highly valued. That is why David Moyes has been criticized for living in the famous five star Hotel María Cristina, currently hosting Hollywood stars during the international cinema festival that takes place in San Sebastian. The Scot has rejected several flats, even in the most expensive zones of the city, during the past year and even though his stay at María Cristina's suite is symbolic in terms of Real Sociedad's budget, it is hurting his public image.
The players are not used to such a high standing manager and the fractures have increased during the last few days. David Zurutuza has voiced frustration over Moyes's new football style. "The team is not performing as expected, we have a great squad but we miss many things, we need an idea and not everybody is going together" Zurutuza said, as quoted by Noticias de Gipuzkoa.
Carlos Vela, arguably the best player of the whole squad, has remarked he could leave the club January. Actually, he admitted that he tried to sign for San José Earthquakes during the summer because he was not happy with his situation
In addition to that, Real Sociedad's president, Jokin Aperribay, travelled to United States last week, accompanied by the club's account manager, Iñaki Otegi. The Mexican's bad relationship with Moyes has been the talk of the town in San Sebastian during the last months but Vela is not the only key player who has aimed a very deliberate dart at his manager. Last Saturday, Jonathas did not play from the start against Espanyol and when he scored the equalizer (2-2), he fired a gesture clearly in the direction of Moyes's bench.
But Saturday's post match press conference was the straw that broke the camel's back. Sociedad had lost in the last minute (2-3) against Espanyol. Even though they took an early lead, Geronimo Rully saw a red card late on in the first half and Oier Olazabal, on loan from Granada, was forced to make his debut in the Real goal. It is true that he could have performed better in two of the goals, especially the last one, but he did not deserve Moyes's subsequent criticism.
The Scot threw his substitute goalkeeper under the bus, saying "he should have saved the third goal". Not what you expect from a group leader who tries to keep his players focused on the next game. Some analysts consider these quotes as an attack to Real's sporting director Lorenzo Juarros but what it is clear is that the press conference put more pressure on Olazabal, who will remain in goal in the upcoming games.
David Moyes's Sociedad face a very complicated week, visiting Granada and hosting Athletic de Bilbao in one of the most intense derbies in Spanish football. If none of these matches end in a victory, Moyes's adventure in the Basque Country may reach to an end. So if a plane flies over Anoeta Stadium with a banner calling for 'Moyes to go' do not be surprised. It would a familiar story.