United 01/02

The 2001–02 season was Manchester United’s tenth season in the Premier League and their 27th consecutive season in the top division of English football. The second full season of the new millennium was rather dismal for the Red Devils in comparison to the previous three years. The club finished in third place in the Premier League, their lowest finish in the history of the Premier League, and they were knocked out of the FA Cup in the fourth round. League Cup success was not expected, and the club duly obliged by playing what was effectively a reserve team against a strong Arsenal side in the third round. United’s best success in the 2001–02 season came in the UEFA Champions League, in which they reached the semi-finals before being knocked out by Bayer Leverkusen on away goals. Ultimately, United’s failure to win anything boiled down a dismal run of form in November and early December when they suffered five defeats in seven league games, including three defeats in a row against Arsenal, Chelsea and West Ham United in December. They also lost six home games in the Premier League, their worst home record since the 1977–78 season. They only lost three more league games all season, but that terrible form earlier in the campaign counted against United for the rest of the campaign and they finished 10 points behind champions Arsenal (who sealed their crown by beating United 1–0 at Old Trafford in the penultimate game of the season) and three points behind runners-up Liverpool.
Before the season began, Sir Alex Ferguson had announced his intention to retire from football at the end of the season, and the club began the process of trying to find a successor for the most successful manager in their history. However, Fergie went back on his decision to retire, many people citing his failure to win the Champions League in his home town of Glasgow as the reason for this reversal.
Assistant manager Steve McClaren left the club before the start of the season to become the manager of Middlesbrough. Youth team coach and former player Mike Phelan was promoted to first-team coach and took over some of the assistant manager’s responsibilities, but McClaren was not replaced until the summer of 2002, when Carlos Queiroz was appointed the new assistant manager.
Winger Ryan Giggs was honoured with a testimonial match against Celtic, having now been at United for more than a decade.
£19 million striker Ruud van Nistelrooy did what was expected of him by scoring 36 goals in all competitions and collecting the PFA Player of the Year award, but £28.1 million national record signing Juan Sebastián Verón was a major disappointment in midfield, though it was in defence where United were at their weakest following the shock departure of Jaap Stam to Lazio just after the start of the season, and the surprise acquisition of 35-year-old Frenchman Laurent Blanc as his successor.
2001–02 was the final season at Old Trafford for veteran players Denis Irwin and Ronny Johnsen after 12 and six years at the club respectively. Also on the way out of the club were goalkeeper Raimond van der Gouw and striker Dwight Yorke. Striker Andy Cole left United after seven years when he sealed a transfer to Blackburn Rovers at the end of December.

Pre-season and friendlies

22 July 2001Malaysia All-StarsN6–0Van Nistelrooy (2) 7′, 36′, Beckham 29′, Cole (2) 46′, 78′, Chadwick 71′68,000
24 July 2001Team SingaporeA8–1Solskjær (2) 30′, 45′, P. Neville 40′, Beckham 52′, Yorke (2) 65′, 71′, Van Nistelrooy 73′, Giggs 90′44,000
29 July 2001ThailandA2–1Giggs 29′, Yorke 78′65,000
1 August 2001CelticH3–4Van Nistelrooy (2) 24′, 84′, Verón 64′66,957
4 August 2001WrexhamA2–2Solskjær 31′, Verón 58′7,614
4 August 2001Hereford UnitedA6–0Butt 23′, Fortune 45′, 65′, Yorke 69′, Cole 78′, 87′4,625
8 August 2001BuryA3–0P. Neville 49′, Yorke 62′, Solskjær 69′9,929
12 November 2001BarnsleyA0–1


FA Charity Shield

12 August 2001LiverpoolN1–2Van Nistelrooy 51′70,227

Premier League

19 August 2001FulhamH3–2Beckham 36′, Van Nistelrooy (2) 51′, 53′67,5344th
22 August 2001Blackburn RoversA2–2Giggs 20′, Beckham 78′29,8363rd
26 August 2001Aston VillaA1–1Alpay 90′ (o.g.)42,6325th
8 September 2001EvertonH4–1Verón 4′, Cole 40′, Fortune 46′, Beckham 90′67,5342nd
15 September 2001Newcastle UnitedA3–4Van Nistelrooy 29′, Giggs 62′, Verón 64′52,0564th
22 September 2001Ipswich TownH4–0Johnsen 13′, Solskjær (2) 20′, 90′, Cole 89′67,5513rd
29 September 2001Tottenham HotspurA5–3Cole 46′, Blanc 58′, Van Nistelrooy 72′, Verón 76′, Beckham 87′36,0382nd
13 October 2001SunderlandA3–1Varga 35′ (o.g.), Giggs 59′, Cole 66′48,3053rd
20 October 2001Bolton WanderersH1–2Verón 25′67,5593rd
27 October 2001Leeds UnitedH1–1Solskjær 89′67,5555th
4 November 2001LiverpoolA1–3Beckham 50′44,3616th
17 November 2001Leicester CityH2–0Van Nistelrooy 21′, Yorke 50′67,6514th
25 November 2001ArsenalA1–3Scholes 14′38,1746th
1 December 2001ChelseaH0–367,5447th
8 December 2001West Ham UnitedH0–167,5829th
12 December 2001Derby CountyH5–0Solskjær (2) 6′, 58′, Keane 10′, Van Nistelrooy 63′, Scholes 89′67,5775th
15 December 2001MiddlesbroughA1–0Van Nistelrooy 76′34,3585th
22 December 2001SouthamptonH6–1Van Nistelrooy (3) 1′, 34′, 54′, Solskjær 41′, Keane 72′, Neville 78′67,6384th
26 December 2001EvertonA2–0Giggs 78′, Van Nistelrooy 85′39,9485th
30 December 2001FulhamA3–2Giggs (2) 5′, 47′, Van Nistelrooy 45′21,1595th
2 January 2002Newcastle UnitedH3–1Van Nistelrooy 24′, Scholes (2) 50′, 62′67,6462nd
13 January 2002SouthamptonA3–1Van Nistelrooy 9′, Beckham 45′, Solskjær 63′31,8581st
19 January 2002Blackburn RoversH2–1Van Nistelrooy 45′ (pen.), Keane 81′67,5521st
22 January 2002LiverpoolH0–167,5991st
29 January 2002Bolton WanderersA4–0Solskjær (3) 15′, 39′, 64′, Van Nistelrooy 83′27,3501st
2 February 2002SunderlandH4–1P. Neville 6′, Beckham 25′, Van Nistelrooy (2) 28′, 44′ (pen.)67,5871st
10 February 2002Charlton AthleticA2–0Solskjær (2) 33′, 74′26,4751st
23 February 2002Aston VillaH1–0Van Nistelrooy 50′67,5921st
3 March 2002Derby CountyA2–2Scholes 41′, Verón 60′33,0411st
6 March 2002Tottenham HotspurH4–0Beckham (2) 15′, 64′, Van Nistelrooy (2) 43′ (pen.), 76′67,5991st
16 March 2002West Ham UnitedA5–3Beckham (2) 17′, 89′ (pen.), Butt 22′, Scholes 55′, Solskjær 64′35,2811st
23 March 2002MiddlesbroughH0–167,6831st
30 March 2002Leeds UnitedA4–3Scholes 9′, Solskjær (2) 37′, 39′, Giggs 54′40,0582nd
6 April 2002Leicester CityA1–0Solskjær 61′21,4472nd
20 April 2002ChelseaA3–0Scholes 15′, Van Nistelrooy 41′, Solskjær 86′41,7252nd
27 April 2002Ipswich TownA1–0Van Nistelrooy 45′ (pen.)28,4332nd
8 May 2002ArsenalH0–167,5803rd
11 May 2002Charlton AthleticH0–067,5713rd
3Manchester United3824598745+4277
4Newcastle United3821897452+2271

Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points

FA Cup

6 January 2002Round 3Aston VillaA3–2Solskjær 77′, Van Nistelrooy (2) 80′, 82′38,444
26 January 2002Round 4MiddlesbroughA0–217,624

League Cup

5 November 2001Round 3ArsenalA0–430,693

UEFA Champions League

Group stage

18 September 2001LilleH1–0Beckham 90′64,8271st
25 September 2001Deportivo La CoruñaA1–2Scholes 40′33,1082nd
10 October 2001OlympiacosA2–0Beckham 66′, Cole 82′73,5371st
17 October 2001Deportivo La CoruñaH2–3Van Nistelrooy (2) 7′, 40′65,5852nd
23 October 2001OlympiacosH3–0Solskjær 80′, Giggs 88′, Van Nistelrooy 90′66,7692nd
31 October 2001LilleA1–1Solskjær 6′37,4002nd
Deportivo La Coruña6240108+210
Manchester United6312106+410

Second group stage

20 November 2001Bayern MunichA1–1Van Nistelrooy 74′59,0002nd
5 December 2001BoavistaH3–0Van Nistelrooy (2) 31′, 62′, Blanc 55′66,2741st
20 February 2002NantesA1–1Van Nistelrooy 90′ (pen.)38,2851st
26 February 2002NantesH5–1Beckham 18′, Solskjær (2) 31′, 78′, Silvestre 38′, Van Nistelrooy 64′ (pen.)66,4921st
13 March 2002Bayern MunichH0–066,8181st
19 March 2002BoavistaA3–0Blanc 14′, Solskjær 29′, Beckham 51′ (pen.)13,2231st
Manchester United6330133+1012
Bayern Munich633052+312

Knockout phase

2 April 2002Quarter-final
First leg
Deportivo La CoruñaA2–0Beckham 15′, Van Nistelrooy 41′32,351
10 April 2002Quarter-final
Second leg
Deportivo La CoruñaH3–2Solskjær (2) 23′, 56′, Giggs 69′65,875
24 April 2002Semi-final
First leg
Bayer LeverkusenH2–2Živković 29′ (o.g.), Van Nistelrooy 67′ (pen.)66,534
30 April 2002Semi-final
Second leg
Bayer LeverkusenA1–1Keane 28′22,500

Squad statistics

No.Pos.NameLeagueFA CupLeague CupEuropeOtherTotal
1GK Fabien Barthez320100015010490
2DF Gary Neville31(3)020001401048(3)0
3DF Denis Irwin10(2)000008(2)01019(4)0
4MF Juan Sebastián Verón24(2)510001300038(2)5
5DF Ronny Johnsen9(1)100008(1)00017(2)1
6DF Laurent Blanc291200015200463
6DF Jaap Stam100000001020
7MF David Beckham23(5)1110001351038(5)16
8MF Nicky Butt20(5)120008(1)01031(6)1
9FW Andy Cole7(4)400001(3)1008(7)5
10FW Ruud van Nistelrooy29(3)230(2)20014101144(5)36
11MF Ryan Giggs18(7)70(1)0001321032(8)9
12DF Phil Neville21(7)220103(4)00027(11)2
13GK Roy Carroll6(1)0101010009(1)0
14DF David May200000100030
15MF Luke Chadwick5(3)01(1)01000007(4)0
16MF Roy Keane (c)283200011(1)11042(1)4
17GK Raimond van der Gouw0(1)0000(1)000000(2)0
18MF Paul Scholes30(5)820001311046(5)9
19FW Dwight Yorke4(6)10(1)0101(2)00(1)06(10)1
20FW Ole Gunnar Solskjær23(7)1721005(10)70030(17)25
21FW Diego Forlán6(7)000001(4)0007(11)0
22DF Ronnie Wallwork0(1)0101000002(1)0
23DF Michael Clegg00000(1)000000(1)0
24DF Wes Brown15(2)000005(2)00020(4)0
25MF Quinton Fortune8(6)100003(2)00011(8)1
27DF Mikaël Silvestre31(4)0200010(3)11044(7)1
28MF Michael Stewart2(1)000100(1)0003(2)0
30DF John O’Shea4(5)000100(3)0005(8)0
32MF Bojan Djordjic000010000010
34DF Lee Roche000010000010
36FW Jimmy Davis000010000010
37FW Danny Webber000010000010
40FW Daniel Nardiello00000(1)000000(1)0
Own goals200103