But for a brief moment of ecstasy when Patrice Evra’s howitzer flew into the back of Manuel Neuer’s net via the vibrating frame of the goal, Manchester United were a shadow of the team which has graced Europe’s top competition for the last two decades.
If the steepness of United’s decline has taught us anything at all, it is that Sir Alex Ferguson was actually an even greater genius than many of us already believed him to be.
How the rouge-faced emperor of Old Trafford managed to cakewalk the current bunch of Red Devils to a 13th Premier League title during his swansong campaign, is nothing short of feeding the thousands with a single loaf.
So sad is the outlook now for Fergie’s successor David Moyes after their Euro exit, that the best the Scot can hope to achieve in his first season is a 4/5-rated top-six Premier League finish.
If Moyes is to avoid a Liverpool-esque spell in the Champions League wilderness, there are a few players (other than the ones already leaving) who must be shelved to begin the rebuilding process.
A proficient and tenacious water carrier in his pomp, the Scot simply does not possess the legs to transport a single bottle of Evian from A to B these days.
If Carrick had turned his hand to playing at centre-back rather than centre-midfield earlier in his career he may have doubled his tally of England caps at least.
The former Aston Villa flyer is probably more famous for his penalty-box theatrics at Old Trafford than a truly meaningful contribution to their success.
Mr Utility at the back he might be, but Man United already have an upgraded version in Phil Jones and when high-quality centre-backs are brought in, he should be moved on. Jonny Evans is better, when fit.
A poster boy for United’s underachievement, it’s unfair to label the England international as a bad player. He’s just not got anything in his locker which stands out as United quality.
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