Two exits within the space of a week. That is the reality of the season so far for Manchester United; one that started so brightly with good, positive football that had us all purring and brimming with confidence and enthusiasm for the season ahead as we got goals after goals. Instead, we now stare at the unknown. The unknown comes in the shape of the Europa League, a competition we have not won in whatever guise it has been in and a competition we had not planned to play in. However, that is the reality that faces everyone at Manchester United; owners, manager, players and fans when we think of midweek European action for the rest of the season.
The much vaunted, new 25 player squad rule which came into being at 5pm on Tuesday has been little more than a fizzer as far as Manchester United were concerned. As the club reported on its official website “All of United’s players, barring those currently out on loan, are eligible to play for the Reds in the Premier League this season. United’s Champions League squad has also been submitted to UEFA, European football’s governing body and now has to be verified before being confirmed.”
To Old Trafford legend Sir Bobby Charlton the challenge is simple “It is crucial that United reassert their dominance in the Premier League, anything other than the championship trophy will be failure” he says as if his demand is the easiest thing in the world to achieve. And the 1966 World Cup winner is confident that United would have learned from the mistakes which may have been made last season.