Manchester United losing the FA Cup final in May was a disappointing end to a campaign that promised so much early on.
Jose Mourinho’s side finished trophyless and 19 points behind Manchester City in the Premier League.
They were dumped out of the League Cup by Bristol City and suffering an embarrassing home defeat to Sevilla in the Champions League.
The consensus was that United were improving under the tutelage of the Portuguese tactician, though results last season point to a retrogression.
The transfer conundrum
In the FA Cup final, United fielded a backline of Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Ashley Young, four players signed by Sir Alex Ferguson who left the club five years ago.
Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly, who cost more than £60m, were left on the bench, while Mourinho complained that the absence of Marouane Fellaini affected the Red Devils.
For a team that has ambition of winning major trophies, a massive clearout is needed this summer. Mourinho must also trust his fringe players more than he did in 2017/18.
The next transfer window could make or break his hopes of a lengthy stay at Old Trafford.
Style of Play
While the United board correctly recognised that Jose Mourinho is a serial winner, they were somewhat ignorant about his pragmatic style of football.
At the beginning of the season, United played breathtaking and attacking football but reverted to type away at Liverpool, grinding out a goalless draw. United don’t play football that the fans expect, which has led to many questioning the direction the club is headed.
Mourinho’s siege mentality is not in tune with the club’s tradition, as United as one of the biggest teams in world football and expect to rub shoulders with the biggest teams on the continent.
There is more exasperation, as Manchester City have earned plenty of plaudits for their style of play this season. Pep Guardiola has proven you can win while also playing pretty football in the Premier League.
While Manchester United fans won’t publicly appreciate City, they must be feeling a bit jealous of what the Sky Blues have done.
Best players not finding their rhythm
The arrival of Alexis Sanchez in January affected the balance of the team, as Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial suffered a dip in form.
The talented youngsters had impressed at the beginning of the campaign but struggled for consistency in the second-half of the season.
Mourinho’s tough love approach didn’t work with the younger players either, as they often need positive reinforcement rather than public condemnation.
Next season will be very crucial for the United manager. He has a lot to fix at Old Trafford.