Manchester United coach Phil Neville, brought back to the club by David Moyes, concedes he ‘expected’ the team would end the campaign having successfully defended their Premier League title. However, 10 months on from his start date, the club are at their lowest ebb for a generation and out of top level European competition.
The Manchester United players and staff, now without Moyes at the helm, paraded around the Old Trafford pitch on Tuesday with nothing to celebrate other than the fact that a campaign from hell was finally over. A sixth place finish is the best outcome, and a second manager in 12 months is set to be appointed after 26 years of success and security under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Last season Manchester United had romped to the championship by a mammoth 12 points, but Moyes was enable to exact the same performances from the same players as his predecessor had. This came as a shock to everyone - and Neville admits he did not see such disastrous season coming.
"I took the job at United fully expecting to be walking around after the last home game of the season either challenging for a league title or parading a league title because that's what this club demands,” the former Manchester United defender told The Guardian. “We've got to make sure next season we are doing that."
Neville was retained on the coaching staff to support Ryan Giggs in his interim role, but his long-term future at the club remains unclear. The former Everton captain, for his part, wants to stay at Old Trafford, but that decision will be out of his hands.