Manchester United exited the FA Cup at the hands of Chelsea on Saturday, despite Jose Mourinho’s best efforts to drag them back into contention. It was their 11th loss in a row and it means that they will not win any silverware for 2018 as well as extending their trophy drought to two years.
Man United’s FA Cup exit ensures trophy drought carries on apace, and there’s no end in sight. The Red Devils have not won a major trophy since 1967.
MANCHESTER, United Kingdom — Manchester United will not be able to hide their flaws this season with an FA Cup victory. After Middlesbrough’s 8-7 penalty shootout win at Old Trafford ended United’s only realistic hopes of silverware this season, the club’s trophy drought will stretch to five years unless they win the Champions League, which seems as unlikely as Ralf Rangnick’s team taking a midseason break on the moon.
United hasn’t gone this long without winning a trophy since the 1980s, but the club and squad are in such a state of turmoil that only the most hopeful fan can see an end in sight to the dreadful run of futility. This is a squad made up of deadwood and driftwood, players who are beyond their prime and others who are doing so poorly that they risk squandering the skill that made them worthy of wearing the United jersey in the first place.
United are already out of the championship race, and their Carabao Cup run was cut short as West Ham United beat them 1-0 at Old Trafford in the third round in September. Middlesbrough’s FA Cup run came to an end in the fourth round, as the club suffered their first home loss against lower-league opposition in the cup since falling to League One Leeds United in 2010.
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So a season that began with such confidence — thanks to the arrivals of Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane, and Jadon Sancho — is on the verge of collapsing, and you wouldn’t bank on many of Rangnick’s players to turn things around before the season’s finish.
When Chris Wilder’s squad equalized against Middlesbrough, United will claim that the handball rule was misinterpreted when Duncan Watmore’s left hand handled the ball before it dropped to midfielder Matt Crooks at the near post to score. Watmore’s participation was deemed incidental rather than purposeful by the referees, and Crooks’ goal was upheld since the ball did not travel straight into the net as a consequence.
Rangnick, United’s interim manager, remarked, “We surrendered a goal that I don’t see why it stood.” “With his hand, he kept it under control.”
Even Boro boss Wilder predicted the goal would be disallowed.
“I immediately assumed it was handball,” Wilder added. “I was hoping it would be chalked out, but I’m glad it wasn’t.”
But, as perplexing as the occurrence was, United had previously squandered enough opportunities to win the game comfortably. Ronaldo missed a penalty in the 20th minute, and Sancho and Marcus Rashford also had great chances to score, but Middlesbrough’s goal was so significant because of United’s earlier mistakes. Rangnick’s side squandered additional opportunities as the game progressed, leaving United with only themselves to blame for their FA Cup demise, which came after a seventh loss in their last eight shootouts, which was confirmed when Anthony Elanga’s penalty shot went over the crossbar.
It’s no secret that United is in a turmoil right now. The rot had set in long before Rangnick was assigned with a rescue operation in December, when manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was fired following a run of four losses in five Premier League games, including a 5-0 home defeat against Liverpool.
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FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 5TH • Chelsea vs. Plymouth (7.20 a.m. ET) • West Ham vs. Kidderminster (7.25 a.m. ET) • Gladbach vs. Bielefeld (9.20 a.m. ET) • Brentford vs. Everton (9.50 a.m. ET) • Manchester City vs. Fulham (9.50 a.m. ET) • Crystal Palace vs. Hartlepool (9.55 a.m. ET) • RB Leipzig vs. Bayern Munich (12.20 p.m. ET) • AZ Alkmaar vs. PSV (1.50 p.m. ET) • Tottenham Hotspur vs. Brighton (2.50 p.m. ET) • Sevilla vs. Osasuna (2.50 p.m. ET)
However, under an interim manager, the players are aware that their boss is only on the job for a short time and lacks the power to demand more. Rangnick is dealing with a bunch of players that seem to want nothing more than for the season to conclude so that a new, permanent manager can come in and provide them with much-needed clarity and direction.
It’s a team devoid of personality and character, but full of guys with large reputations who have failed to live up to them.
When Juan Mata came in as a second-half replacement, the 11 players on the field had been recruited by five different managers, dating back to Sir Alex Ferguson’s 2011 acquisition of Phil Jones. That’s a significant part of the issue: there are far too many players who should have been released years ago and far too many who were recruited for the sake of generating headlines.
There is no feeling of direction or continuity, which is why failures like these, which destroyed United’s chances of winning a major trophy, have been the norm in recent years.
Will it ever come to an end? At the time, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
The “man u fa cup” is a football competition in England. The club failed to win the trophy this year, and it is likely that they will not win it again for some time.
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