Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Football Reporting
Football Reporting


Man Utd’s season a “major failure” if they don’t finish second and win Europa League – David McDonnell

For all their perceived progress this season, the next few weeks will show where Manchester United really are under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Top of the Premier League in early January and second since Manchester City embarked on their remorseless winning run to end the title race, United have moved forwards this season.

They are 14 points better off than at this stage last season, and while their meek FA Cup exit at Leicester turned the light out on another potential trophy, it was their only defeat in their last 16 games.

But with seven weeks of the season left, there is still time for a season of promise and improvement to fizzle out into one of recrimination, with United’s old failings providing a reality check.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.
Man Utd have made progress this season under Solskjaer, but must cap that by winning the Europa League and securing second place in the Premier League.

United have one chance left to win silverware this season and, if they do not go all the way and win the Europa League, winning the club’s first trophy since 2017, it will go down as a major failure.

Solskjaer’s side are the best of the remaining eight sides left in the competition and, with a favourable quarter-final draw against Granada, ninth in La Liga and who host United on Thursday in the first leg of their quarter-final tie, the Red Devils can have no excuses for not advancing.

Of the other sides left in the tournament, none of Arsenal, Villarreal, Ajax, Roma, Slavia Prague or Dinamo Zagreb should hold any fear for United, who will never have a clearer path to lifting a first trophy under Solskjaer.

But as has been the case so often this season, you never quite know what you are going to get with United, who still have a tendency to implode when you least expect it.

Needing win to regain top spot in the table back in January, Solskjaer’s men suffered a shock home defeat to bottom club Sheffield United, which proved the beginning of the end of their title hopes.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.
Marcus Rashford came off injured during United’s win over Brighton, with Solskjaer already without another striker in Anthony Martial, who could miss the rest of the season

After demolishing Southampton 9-0, United blew a 2-0 lead to draw with Everton, failed to win at West Brom and then went three games without scoring, before ending Manchester City’s 21-game winning run with a 2-0 win at the Etihad Stadium, to complete a league double over their local rivals.

It has been Jekyll and Hyde football, a huge source of frustration to Solskjaer and United fans, when they see their side capable of producing epic performances and wins, but also some wretched displays to underline why they remain a work in progress.

While a top-four finish and an automatic return to the Champions League looks certain for United, with a nine-point advantage over fifth-placed Chelsea, nothing can be taken for granted.

In their remaining eight league games, United still have to face Tottenham, Leeds, Liverpool and Leicester, all games they could potentially lose if they allow their focus to wander and believe the job of securing a top-four place is already done.

And with injuries to Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes feeling the effects having featured in 45 of United’s 48 games this season and Eric Bailly isolating in his native Ivory Coast after contracting Covid-19, Solskjaer’s squad could be tested in the final weeks of the season.

So the remit is clear – win the Europa League and clinch second spot, ahead of next season when, with some strategic signings to strengthen the squad, United can look to produce a sustained title challenge.

But failure in the Europa League and a insipid finish to the league campaign will put Solskjaer and his players under fresh scrutiny, which is why the weeks ahead are so crucial.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Source link

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like


WEST HAM will start a £110million bidding war for Declan Rice after owner David Sullivan finally confirmed their captain can leave. The Hammers will...

Borussia Dortmund

ERLING HAALAND admits Manchester United inspired him to want to be a Champions League winner. The Manchester City goal machine, who faces Inter Milan...


Arsenal have been heavily linked with a number of transfer targets as they look to strengthen their squad after sealing a return to the...

Borussia Dortmund

KARIM BENZEMA has officially been unveiled as an Al-Ittihad player in sensational style. Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund have confirmed that a deal is close for...