Manchester United fans have been facing one disappointment after another ever since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson. He left a void that has burned deep into the roots of the club. A football powerhouse, Manchester United hasn't performed as per the standards set by the teams in the past.
The arrival of fan favourite, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, helped with some sensational performances. A famous night in Paris where the Red Devils overturned a 2-0 home leg deficit to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Champions League and a chance to finish in top four is how he began his role of an interim coach.
However, the performances have dipped off-late. So much so, that the team is struggling to make it to the next season's Champions League.
Here’s a list of five things that need to be changed before the team competes in major tournaments for the coveted titles.
Ashley Young factor
Manchester United was shown what they lack by Lionel Messi and company as Barcelona slammed them at Camp Nou 3-0. It all started when Ashley Young gave away the ball deep into his own half and Messi curled one into the bottom left corner.
It was an all-around performance from the Blaugrana outfit as they controlled the game. The major difference was the absence of defenders Luke Shaw and Diago Dalot. Dalot was brought on later while Shaw was suspended for the game.
Fans were confused as even though Dalot was available for the game, Solskjaer opted to play Young in defense. The 20-year-old Portuguese was instrumental for United in their comeback against PSG and created chances for United when he came on against Barcelona late on.
Young, on the other hand, has been a faithful servant for United but it is time that the management finds a replacement for him.
A fresh and long contract for Rashford and De Gea
Marcus Rashford and David De Gea have been fantastic in the last two seasons. United needs to retain them stay as clubs such as Real Madrid and Barcelona are lurking around. De Gea has been a loyal servant and needs to be rewarded with a lucrative contract.
Rashford, on the other hand, is an explosive striker who is being closely watched by other teams. United needs players like him to stay if they want to win titles for the 'theatre of dreams' again.
A captain, a leader, but who?
Antonio Valencia is the club captain but has hardly played this season. United has come far from the position from when Mourinho was sacked from the helm of things as they were 11 points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and 19 points behind table-toppers Liverpool.
Things have improved massively since then but still, the team needs a leader on the pitch for seasons to come. Pogba has been good in patches for them as a captain but United needs someone who puts in performances day in and day out.
David De Gea or Marcus Rashford? Well, some things need the eyes of the management and not the fans.
A Technical Director of football
Ed Woodward has been heavily criticised time and again for making United a commercial club rather than an elite football club. And it is time that there is a change in approach.
The problems are rooted much deeper than the squad, players and the management. The vision of the club needs to change and investment in young players is the way to go about it.
Ajax and Manchester United met in the Europa League final in 2017 where United won the game convincingly with a 2-0 scoreline. However, two years later, Ajax has thrashed teams such as Juventus and Real Madrid while United is struggling to make it to the Champions League for next season. The difference between the two teams has been the youngsters!
Pogba and Sanchez situation
It is a given that when Paul Pogba plays good, Manchester United win and when he doesn't, United end up on the losing side. The song for Solskjaer which has gained popularity recently, has a particular line, “We've got Sanchez, Paul Pogba and Fred.”
However, these three players have been struggling time and again. Although Pogba and Fred have recently gained some foothold, Sanchez looks on his way out of the club. Pogba has to showcase his talent on a consistent basis if the team wants to win more games.
As for Sanchez, the hefty wages that were being paid to him has rung the alarm bells among Old Trafford faithful. The money could be used to get players such as Jordan Sancho on board.
With the top-four race intensifying, United need to revamp their squad. If the team wants to compete in Champions League football next season, they need to bring the swagger back quickly because it's 'Fergie time' already.