Manchester United are out of the UEFA Champions League! For the fifth season in a row, the Red Devils have not won a single trophy and their wait for silverware will be prolonged to make it at least six years. A 1-0 loss to Atletico Madrid at Old Trafford was enough for Man United to crash out of the Champions League at the round of 16 stage, remaining on just two knockout ties won since Sir Alex Ferguson left the club and retired.
Atletico could not beat United in Madrid, when the match ended 1-1, but this time it was Renan Lodi who scored the deciding goal after 41 minutes, getting the Spanish champions to the quarterfinals. United never recovered from that goal and will now get the chance to solely focus on trying to end the season in the Premier League’s top four.
Rangnick’s Changes Change Nothing
Rangnick decided to make changes for this match, following the 3-2 win against Tottenham last Saturday. Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford were now on the bench, with Bruno Fernandes and Anthony Elanga getting starts. But that did not bring too much to United. Both Fernandes and Elanga were among the first ones to leave the pitch in second half and all five of substitutes made did not change much either. Edinson Cavani and Juan Mata were sort of wild cards in this match, trying to nick in a late equaliser and create more drama, but Atleti stood their ground the way they know how.
Oblak Shows His True Self
One of the reasons for that was Jan Oblak’s performance. Throughout this season, the Slovenian goalkeeper had his worst campaign ever since he became a household name, but he apparently decided to return to his old ways at Old Trafford. Oblak was not looking shaken anymore – he was back to his best, making a double save in the second half which brought more confidence to Atletico’s defence and he also made some other saves as well, making them look all too easy. When he is in form, the rest of Atletico feel much safer on the pitch.
Bruno Does Not Offer Much
It has been a while now since Bruno Fernandes was actually so crucial for Man United as he was when he just arrived at the club two years ago. This match against Atletico has shown why many teams do not have a lot of problems stopping him. He was erratic in possession, losing it 16 times, he did manage to create a great chance, but was often very far from the most dangerous areas and often felt as if he was spending more time complaining on the pitch, rather than making things happen. It could also be that his role has somewhat changed with the arrival of Ronaldo, but nevertheless, there was a reason Bruno was substituted after just 67 minutes.
When Will Man United Return To Champions League?
Manchester United have gone out of the Champions League and now the big question remains – will we see them there again next season? Rangnick’s side is in a difficult situation in the Premier League, where they are fighting Arsenal and Tottenham for the place in top four. With the way this team has been playing throughout the campaign, not only no one is surprised the silverware is not coming to Old Trafford, but many would not be surprised if they were to return to Europa League next season. And that could harm the club for a few more years, too.