After the heartbreak of losing the Europa League final, we have had the opportunity to reflect on things. And it is time to put everything into perspective and review Manchester United’s season.
The season did not start well for the Red Devils. They suffered a 6-1 defeat to former manager Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur side. The lacklustre start continued into the Champions League as well.
The group stages began promisingly, with wins over RB Leipzig and Paris Saint-Germain. However, such promise didn’t last. With three losses (against Istanbul Basaksehir, Paris Saint Germain and RB Leipzig) in their last four group stage games, the club finished third in the group and went down to the Europa League.
The season began to pick up soon though. They began their ascent towards the top of the Premier League table and it looked like they were set to mount a title challenge. Hopes were rising amongst the club’s fans, although Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side were always favourites for the title.
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Manchester United might not have won a trophy but there have been positives
However, too many draws put an end to their title challenge. They struggled against sides even in wins, with the tight schedule not helping things either. The Red Devils were knocked out of both domestic cup competitions leaving the Europa League as their only chance of silverware.
Once Champions League qualification was secured, the Europa League became the priority. Ultimately, they could not get over the last hurdle, losing the final at the hands of Villarreal. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has not yet won a trophy as Manchester United manager and this was the closest that he has been till now, which makes the loss hurt so much more.
The season has had plenty of positives though. Scott McTominay and Fred have formed a midfield partnership that is trustworthy and Bruno Fernandes has proved that he can continue being the main man at the Theatre of Dreams.
Many were unsure about what Edinson Cavani would bring to the team. It is safe to say that the Uruguayan has exceeded the expectations of even the most optimistic fan though and on current form, is one of the best strikers in the Premier League.
Another talking point has been the goalkeeper position. For years, David de Gea has held the first-team gloves with little competition. However, now Dean Henderson might be the man at the top of the pecking order. And you have to question what that means for the Spaniard’s future, especially after a disappointing Europa League final performance.
One thing that has become clear is that Manchester United need another attacking option as there is not much depth up top at the moment. Jadon Sancho was a target for the club last summer and it is expected that he remains a priority this summer as well.
The 2020/21 season has been a season of second place finishes for the Red Devils. It speaks volumes of their brilliant mentality that none of them are content with it though. It is clear that they want to win trophies, not runners up medals. Hopefully, they will start doing that next season.