‘Frightened’ Man Utd out of Europe with a Whimper

Wed Dec 13 2023
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MANCHESTER: Manchester United’s exit from Europe was lackluster, marked by a 1-0 loss to Bayern Munich that concluded a dismal Champions League season, casting doubt on Erik ten Hag’s managerial future.

With 12 defeats in their first 24 games, United’s campaign has seen them forfeit their League Cup defense and dwell in sixth place in the Premier League.

This marks only the fourth instance of an English club finishing at the bottom of a Champions League group. Among English clubs, only Manchester City in 2012 managed fewer points than United’s four in Group A, facing tough opponents like Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, and Ajax.

The damage wasn’t inflicted solely by the German champions, who effortlessly secured victory despite already securing qualification before visiting England.

Initially perceived as potential group frontrunners alongside Bayern in a lineup also featuring FC Copenhagen and Galatasaray, United’s reality was a far cry from the anticipated smooth progress.

“It’s a huge club and not what you expect when you see the group,” said Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel. “You immediately expect Man United is challenging to win the group.”

The three-time European champions managed to secure only one victory out of four encounters against Copenhagen and Galatasaray, allowing a total of 11 goals in those matches. During their away games, they squandered two-goal leads on both occasions.

“To score three goals in each of their away games and not come away with much points, it’s criminal,” former United defender Rio Ferdinand told TNT Sports.

“You get what you deserve. If you’re not clinical or you can’t close matches out.”

On Tuesday, United only managed a single shot on target, which came from Luke Shaw with a long-range attempt early in the game, easily stopped by Manuel Neuer, without any substantial threat posed.

“I think it was a frightened performance more than anything,” said ex-United midfielder Paul Scholes.

“There was such a lack of goal threat.”

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