Manchester United are just 10 days away from the start of the new season. They will be the ones to kick off the Premier League campaign, once they face Leicester City. There has been a lot of talk about shorter pre-season, problems with injuries and more problems with transfers. But amidst all of that, what would Manchester United fans consider a successful season?
This is a tricky question to be asked on the last day of July. It is still too early to make such assumptions and the season is so long. Therefore, the expectations change. Some clubs after really poor starts to the season are happy in the end even if they did not reach the goals they set during previous summer. But regarding Manchester United, what would be described as success if we were not looking afterwards in hindsight, but only now, at this particular moment?
Trophies – No Trophies?
A season with a new trophy is almost always considered a success, even a mild one. If United were to only win League Cup and play mediocre football in Premier League and Champions League, that silverware would not be enough to label the while season a resounding success. One controversial take could be that Manchester United do not need to win trophies this season and could still feel very positive about it all. Just look at Liverpool.
All jokes aside, it is true. If Manchester United were to truly challenge Manchester City (or any other team) for the Premier League title and then miss on it narrowly, but have a really good run in the Champions League, than that would be a definitive progress on this last season. Playing in the semifinals of the Champions League would change perspective of everyone at the club, as United have not been there since 2011. That would be eight years of wait.
Also, such results mentioned above would also suggest Man United are finally moving in the right direction. You could not truly challenge for the title and reach the final four in Europe’s biggest competition without doing something right. Therefore, that would be a good thing for the fans, as well.
What Would Be The Minimum?
Pointing out regarding the previous question that it was a tricky one, that could be said again, regarding this question. What would Manchester United fans be content with? Not truly happy, just content. Would that be a top four finish with an FA Cup in the trophy cabinet? Or the two domestic cups would be enough, regardless of the two more important competitions?
There are many questions. Reaching quarter finals of the Champions League would be a progress on this past season, but losing out to a team similar to Sevilla would not really create such feeling. My personal feeling is that, at this point, a bare minimum for Man United should be a top three league finish and the FA Cup win, with the quarterfinals of the Champions League. But things change throughout the season and thus the expectations change.
Manchester United need to continue making progress, that is for sure.