Manchester United have had a torrid season so far, with both silverware and Champions League qualification going amiss.
David Moyes has also received flak over the use of transfer funds as his first season in the hotseat comes to a close. It may come as a surprise, but there are some positives to take for fans out of this year.
Sir Alex Ferguson was always going to be an impossible act to follow, whoever decided to take the plunge. The fact that Moyes was hand chosen instantly gave the new man more support than if Ferguson had just left it to the board.
The real positive factor this season, though, is how Moyes has dealt with the portion of fans who want to see the back of him. He has always labelled United as a club for the long term and who stick together. Even when a banner was flown over Old Trafford in protest he ignored it and United beat Aston Villa 4-1.
Although it may not sound great, the first season after Ferguson left is almost over. Moyes has been through the toughest and it must only be up from here. He will have experience of his players and know even more who he needs to bring in and who he can let leave.
The Vidic announcement was bizarre, although it does give Moyes a chance to scout a replacement and the fans time to adjust to the loss of their captain. This first year at Carrington will have given Moyes a lot to think about and hopefully problems he can start solving.
The first thing that the 50-year-old had to do when he got through the doors on July 1 was to convince their best player to stay. Not only did he manage that, he also got him to sign a contract extension.
Finally, although they have only reached the same stage that they did last season in the competition, the Champions League has provided a welcome sidetrack to a dismal domestic campaign for the Premier League champions.
A 5-0 away win at Bayern Leverkusen and the 3-0 home victory against Olympiakos havr proven to be United's most positive results this season and in Moyes' first elite European experience, he performed well. Surely it can't be too many years before we see Manchester United back in the competition. They need to improve, however, and they need to beat the better sides.
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