Man Utd season review: ‘The worst of my lifetime – a nightmare’

Alex Turk, Stretford Paddock, external

Rating: 3/10. One mark for Cristiano Ronaldo’s successful return. One mark for another academy product successfully brought through in Anthony Elanga. One mark for the promising progress being made off the pitch in terms of the club’s hierarchy. Other than that – without doubt the worst season of my lifetime. A nightmare.

Best performance: Tottenham 0-3 United. Only a handful of ‘good’ performances this season. The opening day 5-1 mauling of Leeds and the character shown in Michael Carrick’s 2-0 win away at Villarreal in the first match after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking are strong contenders. However, United’s response to the 5-0 thrashing by Liverpool at Tottenham in a reshuffled system was sensational.

Player of the season: Ronaldo. David de Gea has saved United from further humiliation this term and Fred is one of a few who deserve praise, but you can’t look beyond Ronaldo. Some 24 goals in all competitions – where would we be without them?

Player whose time is up: Aaron Wan-Bissaka. I’ll avoid stating the obvious candidates leaving as free agents. He only joined United for a £50m fee in 2019, but he isn’t part of Erik ten Hag’s plans and Jurrien Timber’s expected arrival will spell the end of his Old Trafford career.

Opposition player you’d love at your team: Declan Rice. United have plenty of areas to fix, none more so than in defensive midfield, especially with Nemanja Matic’s exit. Rice is near the top of the list and is only 23. He’d fit into Erik ten Hag’s preferred 4-2-3-1 seamlessly, but a deal this summer is out of the question.

Happy with your manager? Ralf Rangnick had an incredibly tough job to pick up the scraps of the explosive end to Solskjaer’s tenure but I, like many, expected plenty more than what we’ve seen. It’s gotten worse. He talks a brilliant game, and clearly knows how to work within a club, but his coaching stint in England has been a disaster. Ten Hag is absolutely the right man to replace him and his efforts to start work as early as possible backs that up. Next season can’t come quickly enough…

One learning to take into next season: What Ten Hag says goes. He arrives in England with the same modern aura Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp carried into Manchester City and Liverpool. And since Ed Woodward’s United exit, Richard Arnold has given football heads the freedom to make football decisions. If Ten Hag is to succeed, he must be central to those decisions, with the help of football director John Murtough, a soon-to-be appointed deputy football director and Rangnick in his advisory role. Perhaps it’s controversial given the club’s dismal campaign, but United are actually better placed than they ever have been since the Sir Alex Ferguson era to start their journey back to the top.

Do you agree with Alex? Have your say here

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