Manchester United's abysmal season in the 2013/14 campaign saw them miss out on European football entirely as the door closed on their biggest failure of a manager, David Moyes, in April of 2014.
But just over a year on the Red Devils have returned to the Champions League, this time under new management and with better players on board. Louis van Gaal's side, which he has only had a year to revive, finished 4th in last year's Premier League campaign, successfully clinching a Champions League spot with ease.
However, former Red Devil Owen Hargreaves has just said something that his previous supporters will now take a dim view of him for.
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"I don't think Manchester United are ready to compete for a Champions League title," Hargreaves announced, as per the Daily Star.
Is Hargreaves right?
It's difficult to predict how well (or how terribly) United will perform in the Champions League in 2015/16 because Van Gaal is yet to complete all of his summer signings that may be on his summer shopping list.
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Memphis Depay has already been added to the Old Trafford roster, but a moves for Dani Alves is now impossible and the anticipated transfer of Paul Pogba looks unlikely to go through.
If United struggle to bring much extra quality into the squad, Hargreaves is entirely right that United aren't ready to challenge. On the other hand, it will be interesting to see which individuals Van Gaal has in mind because they could prove to be that cutting edge.
Too much quality elsewhere
No matter what squad the Dutch boss has under his command next season, the Champions League is going to be no walk in the park.
There are so many unpredictable events that could occur in the world's biggest club competition. Take this year for example when Juventus made the final in Berlin. Who had their money on the Serie A champions to go all the way? Very few, I presume.
What I'm trying to say is that United could be given a rude awakening by any side because of the sheer quality of those teams. For example, not many expected Porto to do as well as they did, but stars such as Yacine Brahimi and Hector Herrera helped push the Portuguese side all the way to the quarter-finals.
If United do manage to reach a reasonable stage in the Champions League, they're going to face a severe issue against a team such as Barcelona, most certainly the world's best club at this current moment in time. Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi form the planet's most deadly strike force, so how would you expect the likes of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones to deal with that?
There is, also, one other key issue to be amended; United's consistency. Too many a time in 2014/15 have United struggled to construct a dazzling run of results. Home defeats to West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City need to be avoided just to keep a bit of dignity, whilst failing to beat West Ham United and Stoke City on the road is a real cause for concern.
If the Red Devils are facing difficulty in beating these sides in the top flight, they're going to crash and burn in the Champions League.
United fans, do you think you will manage fine in Europe's elite club competition next season? Let us know what you think in the comments box below.
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