The biggest and most important Manchester derby of recent times brought with it disappointment and begrudging acceptance that the opposition deserved the win and were the better side for Manchester United fans. For some disappointment led to anger and frustration even. For others there was shock. We have never known it like this before. We have seen United claw back deficits to win titles before but we have never seen United claw back a deficit, establish a healthy lead with only a handful of games left to go and then relinquish the lead. Never ever! The closest compared to what we are experiencing now is having our own lead clawed back but that was when United were leading the title race; 1991-92,1994-95,1997-98.
In his pre-match press conference, Sir Alex Ferguson called for his players to wake up in Europe at Old Trafford. His comments weren’t heeded as we slumped to yet another defeat at home in Europe. That’s 1 win in 5 home European ties now. Manchester United were well and truly beaten by Athletic Club Bilbao and the score-line is flattering to the Red Devils as they were convincingly played off the park by the Spanish team. There would have been no injustice at all if the Red Devils were beaten by more than a 1 goal margin.
During the past five seasons, Manchester United’s full-time left-back/part-time captain/wannabe winger has played more minutes than any other outfield player. Now though, the effects of all the non-stop playing is becoming visible to all. Is it time the United captain took some time off or moved on?