It has been another disappointing season for Manchester United under the management of Jose Mourinho. The Red Devils may still be in with a chance of winning the FA Cup, but to be without a chance of winning either the Premier League or the Champions League at this time of year is, for a team as big as United, not acceptable.
We take a look at some of the key reasons why they have fallen short this season.
A negative approach?
Since United’s exit in the last-16 of the Champions League to La Liga side Sevilla a couple of weeks ago, there has been a lot of talk about United’s approach under Mourinho. It appeared a good result on paper when they secured a goalless draw in the first-leg in Spain. However, the way they played in the second-leg at Old Trafford, which eventually saw them crash out of the competition, raised a lot of questions.
With the attacking talent at Mourinho’s disposal, the way Manchester United played in that second-leg surprised a lot of people. The warning signs were there for all to see in the early stages of that game but nothing was done about it. This led to an exciting post-match press conference from the Portuguese manager which is another area of discussion in itself.
It did not help matters that two rival English sides, in the form of Manchester City and Liverpool, sailed through to the quarter-finals of the competition after big wins in their retrospective first-legs. If United had been just as positive in Spain, they might well have been joining them in the next stage of the competition.
Big players underperforming
Another key reason behind United’s disappointing season is due to underwhelming performances from some of their top players. Ever since he returned to Old Trafford for around £89.3 million, Paul Pogba has not been able to produce on a regular basis.
He does have the occasional exceptional game, but these are far too rare to justify his monumental transfer fee. There has even been speculation in the last few weeks that he could leave United for a second time this summer.
However, Pogba has not been the only significant player to struggle at United this season. Although he has been performing well recently, Romelu Lukaku has had spells throughout the campaign where he has struggled and come under significant criticism. 29-year-old forward Alexis Sanchez, who joined from Arsenal in January, has also struggled to make an impact in Manchester so far.
A big few weeks ahead
Despite the fact they are not in contention to win the two major trophies that United supporters have become accustomed to competing for over the years, the Red Devils do still have something to play for this season.
They will want to ensure they secure second place in the Premier League as well as lift the FA Cup in May.