Neville says Man United Champions League exit 'no surprise'

‘A long road in to the end of May!’: Gary Neville says Man United’s Champions League exit was ‘no surprise’ and ‘any decent team’ would beat them after Atletico Madrid sent them crashing out of Europe with a 1-0 win at Old Trafford

  • Manchester United crashed out of Europe, losing 1-0 at home to Atletico Madrid
  • They face an uphill struggle to reach next season’s Champions League from here
  • Gary Neville wasn’t surprised by the manner of United’s exit on Tuesday night
  • Club legend said he couldn’t get excited by last weekend’s 3-2 Tottenham win
  • He predicted a tedious run-in of purely Premier League games until May 

Gary Neville has said Manchester United’s limp exit from the Champions League comes as ‘no surprise’ and believes it will be a ‘long road’ until the end of the season.

Renan Lodi’s header just before half-time sent United tumbling out at the last-16 stage as their last chance of silverware this season vanished.

Ralf Rangnick’s team now face an uphill struggle to qualify for the Champions League next season by finishing in the Premier League top four.

Manchester United crashed out of the Champions League after losing to Atletico Madrid

The Spanish visitors beat United 1-0 at Old Trafford to secure their place in the quarter-finals

United club legend Gary Neville wasn’t surprised by the manner of their exit from Europe

On Twitter, Neville wrote that ‘any decent team’ would beat United at the moment

And club legend Neville summed up the feelings of many when he tweeted: ‘No surprise last night. Any decent team, with organisation and fight are likely to beat this United team.

‘It’s why I couldn’t get excited after Spurs [a 3-2 win] last Saturday because that Spurs performance would get you beat v [versus] a good team.’

‘A long road in to the end of May!’

Now out of both the FA Cup and the Champions League, United can only focus on the league as they attempt to overhaul Arsenal and claim fourth position and a return to Europe’s top competition.

That, however, seems unlikely with the Gunners currently a point ahead but with three games in hand on United.

It was Renan Lodi’s (above) header that secured the Spanish giants the victory at Old Trafford

Cristiano Ronaldo can’t hide his frustration as United crashed out of Europe at the last-16 stage

Although United beat Tottenham at Old Trafford, Antonio Conte’s side remain five points behind them but with two games in hand, while West Ham and Wolves also remain in top four contention.

It looks increasingly likely United will end up in the UEFA Europa League or, even worse, the UEFA Europa Conference League next season.

Neville wasn’t the only former Old Trafford favourite to rip into United after another disappointing night.

Paul Scholes said on BT Sport: ‘How (Ralf Rangnick) was chosen to be manager of this club, I don’t know. Getting a proper coach for this team is a massive thing.

‘There is some real talent in this squad.

‘The very first thing this club needs to do to get anywhere near winning the league again is getting in a proper coach who works for this team.

Paul Scholes also ripped into Manchester United’s decision to hire Ralf Rangnick this season

Pundit Scholes, a United legend, says that ‘getting a proper coach’ must be United’s priority

United are fifth in the Premier League table but Arsenal are in the box seat for the top four

Man United run-in 

Fixtures subject to change

April 2 Leicester City (H)

April 9 Everton (A)

April 16 Norwich City (H)

April 19 Liverpool (A)

April 23 Arsenal (A)

May 2 Brentford (H)

May 7 Brighton (A)

May 15 Chelsea (H)

May 22 Crystal Palace (A)

‘If Diego Simeone was managing them, United would have gone through.’

He then went on to add: ‘We have had a lot of pain and I think there is more to come until we get back to where we want to be.’

United will now go five seasons without a piece of silverware and Scholes predicts this will continue until the club recruit a ‘top class elite coach’ to ‘strike fear’ into his players.

He said: ‘Two, three or four years it could be that long until they’re challenging for the league. I’d snap your hand off for that now.

‘You saw with Liverpool and City in those two or three years, you knew they were coming, and you know they were going to be challenging for a league title.

‘We haven’t had that for eight to 10 years since Sir Alex went and there is no sign we’re getting closer to that and it feels like we’re going in the opposite direction.

‘It’s going to take getting the right man, the next man might not be the right man, but those people behind the scenes have got to make sure it’s the right man.’

Rio Ferdinand added to the condemnation of their turmoil, and singled out the lack of leaders in Rangnick’s dressing room. Indeed, the pundit appeared to suggest that the difference in the showdown was because of maturity.

‘The difference between the two teams today?’ he said.

‘The Atletico team had a group of reliable men who would do anything the manager has asked them.

Ferdinand accused United’s players of waiting for each other to ‘pull a magic trick’ in the game

‘They understand the job at hand and they worked together as a team.

‘Whereas, the other team – Man Utd – are looking at each other saying, “who’s going to pull a magic trick out of their hat?”‘

United are now out of action until after the international fortnight on April 2, when they host Leicester City at Old Trafford.

This weekend’s scheduled trip to Liverpool has been postponed until April 19 because of their opponent’s FA Cup quarter-final with Nottingham Forest.

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