David Moyes resigns: What went wrong for him at Sunderland?
Last Updated: 23/05/17 7:38am
David Moyes has resigned following Sunderland's relegation. Here, we look at what went wrong for him at the Stadium of Light.
Sam Allardyce highlighted the importance of getting the recruitment right after Sunderland's survival last year, but his successor endured a frustrating summer in the transfer market. And when new faces did finally arrive, few of them made a positive impact.
Didier Ndong did not live up to his club-record £13.6m fee, while the likes of Javier Manquillo, Donald Love, Papy Djilobodji and Jason Denayer failed to stabilise the defence.
That theme continued in January. Moyes' former charges Bryan Oviedo and Darron Gibson only started 17 games between them after arriving from Everton for a combined cost of £9m in January, while Joleon Lescott only played 123 minutes in four months. Moyes' squad looked in poor shape right from the start of the campaign.
The poor transfer business was compounded by widespread injury problems. Moyes started the season without key midfielders Jan Kirchhoff, Lee Cattermole and Sebastian Larsson, while forwards Fabio Borini, Duncan Watmore and Victor Anichebe also succumbed to injuries later in the campaign.
There was also a costly knee injury to goalkeeper Jordan Pickford - one of only a handful of Sunderland players to come out of the season with his reputation enhanced. During his six-week spell on the sidelines between December and February, Sunderland only won once in 11 games.
Jermain Defoe' form was one of the few bright spots for Sunderland this season, with his goalscoring exploits even earning him a first international call-up since 2013 for England's games against Germany and Lithuania in March.
The problem, however, was just how much Moyes came to depend on him. With 15 goals, Defoe scored nearly five times as many as any of his team-mates. His tally accounted for 52 per cent of the Black Cats' overall figure - the highest percentage any Premier League player scored for his team this season.
Highest goal contributions - Premier League 2016/17
|Player||Goals||% of team's total|
The dependence on Defoe was particularly apparent in the last few weeks of the season. The 34-year-old only managed to find the net twice in his last 14 appearances. With only two other members of Moyes' squad scoring more than once all season, Sunderland's deteriorating form was no coincidence.
When Sunderland won three games out of four at the Stadium of Light before Christmas, Moyes insisted their home form was a clear sign of progress. The Black Cats seemed to be climbing away from danger, but after that, they failed to win in 10 games at their own ground.
It is a dismal run which made grim viewing for the club's fans. Heavy defeats to Stoke City and Southampton were particularly difficult to stomach, and Sunderland did not even manage to score in seven of their final eight games at the Stadium of Light. In total, Moyes' side only found the net 16 times in 19 home games this season.
Many of Sunderland's issues this season predated Moyes' arrival, but the Scot should certainly not be exempt from blame. His habit of signing players from his previous clubs did not pay off, and he set a grim tone for the campaign when he told supporters to expect another relegation battle back in August.
From that moment on, it was always going to be difficult to instil belief in the squad or in the stands. And when results nose-dived in the second half of the season, Moyes responded to the pressure by telling a female reporter, "You might get a slap, even though you're a woman". The FA are seeking Sunderland's observations on that comment. It was an ugly blot on a dismal season.