Manchester United were ousted from the Champions League last night after a 1-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid in the round of 16 second leg (2-1 aggregate loss).
With the defeat, the Red Devils have gone five seasons with winning silverware, but their concerns are far beyond with the lack of sufficient progress in recent campaigns.
The season started with plenty of promise after the high-profile arrivals of Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo. There was talk about a Premier League title challenge.
However, United have been far off from the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool. They are currently facing the prospects of missing out on Champions League football.
While they are just one point ahead of fourth-placed Arsenal, the north London club have a significant advantage with three matches in hand, one against Liverpool tonight.
The Red Devils can’t influence the Gunners’ fortunes with just one head-to-head meeting left, but here are three things they must do over the next two months to save their season.
Win their remaining games
United no longer have control of their Champions League destiny, but their challenge is quite straightforward hereafter. They are currently on 50 points, and nine straight wins would take their tally to 77.
Only one club in the Premier League era has registered 77 or more points to finish fourth. Arsenal did so in the 2013/14 campaign with 79. Hence, United have hope of a top-four finish, but it is easier said than done.
Drop underperforming players
Ralf Rangnick has received criticism from some fans for his reluctance to drop Harry Maguire. The centre-back has had a tough season where he has been prone to numerous positional errors.
Yesterday, he was partly at fault for Atletico’s goal, having been caught out of position. Scott McTominay has also been far from his best lately. Rangnick must take stringent measures by dropping them.
Settle on a particular XI
One of United’s main concerns this campaign has been the lack of a consistent starting line-up. There have been changes in almost every league game which has not necessarily helped.
In comparison, the Gunners have gone with an unchanged XI in recent weeks. Their front four has been almost constant since December. This has brought a better cohesion. They have got the best out of each other.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com
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