Champions League absence serves to compound Reds’ misery

Talking Points

As another season draws to a close, Manchester United fans will want to forget the 2018/19, Premier league season.

An awful April for United meant that Champions League football would not be making an appearance at Old Trafford next season. To make things worse, both Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool, have made it into the Champions League final.

Spurs, first surviving an injury time VAR decision which sent them through to the semi final, before then completing their own comeback and scoring with the last kick in Amsterdam to send the North Londoners to the final.

Liverpool themselves had left a mountain to climb after trailing 3-0 to Barcelona after leg 1. Cue one of the greatest comebacks since Jesus at Easter, and the red men find themselves lining up against familiar opposition.

With Manchester City already holding silverware this season, it’s hard to see any shining light of which to hold on United’s footballing year. A roller coaster of mediocrity which culminated in a Europa League birth and the second season in a row in which no trophies would be added to the Old Trafford cabinet.

A season which begun with the stark warning from then manager, Jose Mourinho, that the team he had at his disposal would need to be strengthened considerably, if United were to close the eighteen point gap on Champions, City.

When probed further by the media, Jose would comment that his greatest achievement in management would be to lead this team to second place in the table. A vast improvement on the sixth place finish a season previous.

” I think that is a fundamental thing. If I tell you, for example, that I consider one of the best jobs of my career to finish second with Manchester United in the Premier League, you say, ‘this guy is crazy. He won 25 titles and he’s saying that a second position was one of his best achievements in football’. I keep saying this because people don’t know what’s going on [behind] the scenes.” – Jose Mourinho

A lack of serious investment during the summer of 2018 meant that only Fred, Dalot and Lee Grant, would make it through the Carrington turnstiles. Jose, looked like a man who had clearly run out of patience with both the men making the decisions, and the team on the pitch. He was finally given his marching orders in mid December.

Ed Woodward would move to bring in fan favourite, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. An immediate upturn in form would see United close the eleven point gap on the top four, as well as achieving their own remarkable turnaround in Paris to eliminate PSG.

It would be too little, too late. Defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates and an FA cup quarter final defeat to Wolves, would see United looking both lacking in ideas and enthusiasm.

Social media outlets have begun campaigns in which to ‘unfollowunited’ on various platforms. The fans are hurting, and rightly so. When your nearest and dearest rivals are playing champagne football and reaching final after final, it’s becoming a bitter pill to swallow.

This current group of United players are clearly not good enough to even challenge for a top four place, let alone the title. A busy summer ahead for the new management team. Mike Phelan was officially announced as the assistant manager to OGS.

The galactico approach of signings has failed to deliver. It’s now time for a fresh approach. Dan James from Swansea City, the first name to be mentioned in the rebuilding process. An unknown to many, but tried and trusted has not always been very fruitful either.

United fans will want to delete May 2019 from the memory banks. One of which that will certainly not be fondly remembered. Ole would do well to use this as fuel to his Manchester United fire next season. Through the darkness cometh light, or something like that. It’s not all doom and gloom. Manchester United will rise again, like they did after Munich, relegation, 26 years of no title and now this. This club never dies. It just takes a little while to heal.

Ole’s at the wheel!

About the Author

John McNicoll
Southern Red and Football enthusiast.