Manchester United ended the season with a European final and a place in next season’s Champions League.
But it wasn’t all plain sailing. There were disappointments during a 2020/21 season, which was more hectic and condensed than any other in modern history.
We’ve picked out the four biggest, which Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will hope not to repeat next time around…
Manchester United 1-6 Tottenham
Jose Mourinho’s Spurs handed out a thrashing in October against a United side still struggling badly for match fitness.
Anthony Martial’s first half red card didn’t help but the way the side capitulated was worrying.
The result likely informed Solskjaer’s approach to subsequent big games, which was largely cautious and content to play out 0-0 draws to avoid another result like this one.
Of course the Norwegian had the last laugh in April…
Istanbul Basaksehir 2-1 Manchester United
United were flying after their first two Champions League games, with wins against Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig secured.
A win in Turkey against group minnows Istanbul Basaksehir would have put United in complete control – but Solskjaer’s side played terribly.
The performance was dire – so one-paced and predictable in attack and naive defensively.
Demba Ba scored one of the most embarrassing goals in United history after everyone went forward for a corner, leaving more than half the pitch for him to run into.
United’s Champions League campaign never recovered, which brings us onto the next disappointment…
RB Leipzig 3-2 Manchester United
United needed to avoid defeat in Germany to qualify for the Champions League last 16 but were blown away in the first half.
2-0 down at half-time, Solskjaer’s men failed to recover and paid the place for yet another sluggish start.
It was a slog to secure Champions League qualification in 2019/20 and United had tossed it away before Christmas.
The Europa League run has eased the blow, but at the end of the day, it’s not the competition United want to be playing in.
Manchester United 1-2 Sheffield United
United went into the game in late January with the chance to go top of the Premier League with 20 games played.
Again, they slipped into a comfort zone and didn’t produce anything like enough invention or creativity to win the match.
Having got back into the game, the defending which led to Ollie Burke’s winner was schoolboy stuff, devoid of desire or organisation.
That was when the realisation really set in that this side don’t have the mentality to launch a title challenge yet – but hopefully it acts as a lesson for the season ahead.
Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United; United lose 11-10 on penalties
United had a real chance to end the season with silverware, going into the Europa League final with Villarreal as favourites.
The performance was patchy and lacking in conviction as United failed to make enough chances to win.
Solskjaer left it far too late to make changes and by the time he did, a tired United side had lost momentum in extra time.
David de Gea’s miss brought an end to an epic shoot-out and the disappointment of defeat will sting all summer long.
- Manchester United set to resume training
- Charlie McCann sends message after leaving Manchester United
- United announce Rashford is set for surgery on shoulder injury
- Raphael Varane says goodbye to Real Madrid after agreeing to join United
- Photos: Sancho features as Manchester United officially release new 2021/22 away kit