Manchester United players and staff can have no excuses and must face up to the fact that this season has been a total failure, that is according to coach Phil Neville.
Speaking ahead of the clash with Everton on Sunday, the former Old Trafford star admitted that the club's pitiful defence of their Premier League title has seen them fail to achieve any of the expectations they set themselves. In David Moyes first season in charge, Manchester United have had to deal with poor performances on the pitch and fan dissatisfaction as hopes of any trophies slipped away fairly early in the season.
“We have not fulfilled any levels of expectations this season. We have failed on the football pitch and that doesn’t sit kindly with anyone," Neville told reporters on Friday.
“We’ve not had a lot of positivity. When you get to this stage of the season, it has been quite foreign for these players and this football club, to be out of all the competitions and not challenging for a trophy.
"There is a really empty feeling and there is an empty feeling in my belly. I thought we would be challenging for trophies and parading around the pitch after the last game of the season with the championship, European Cup or FA Cup. That is where the emptiness comes from."
After being knocked out of the FA Cup in the third round by Swansea City, knocked out by Sunderland in the League Cup semi-finals, eliminated by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals and seeing the league title race away from them, all Manchester United have left is an unlikely chase for Europa League qualification. Sunday's clash with Everton will be crucial if they have any chance of achieving that goal, but they will go into the match as underdogs owing to the Toffees good form that has seen them get into a battle for fourth with Arsenal.
Sunday's game will also be the first time Moyes will have returned to Goodison Park since he succeeded the retiring Sir Alex Ferguson last summer. It has not been a transition full of good will for him, however, as Blues fans were angered with his attempts to prise Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini from Everton soon after making the move to Old Trafford.
Phil Neville was a coach at Everton and made the switch with Moyes in the summer to Manchester United, which was also a return to his former club. Neville was part of the group of young players that brought so much success to the Red Devils under Ferguson, with brother Gary, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and David Beckham.