The last time a trophy was decorated with Manchester United ribbons was May, 2017.
And of the 14 players who featured in the 2-0 win over Ajax in the Europa League final in Stockholm, only two played a part in this defeat to Leicester City.
Three and three quarter seasons is a long time in football – it is certainly a long time for a club such as United to go without winning a competition.
It is okay winning the internet on a regular basis, it is okay winning on Wall Street, but engraved silver should be the currency of United’s success.
Surely Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, steeped in the institution’s traditions, knows this.
Surely he knows achievement is not measured by share price.
So, quite why he did not field his best team in an FA Cup quarter-final is anyone’s guess.
No Bruno Fernandes starting, no Luke Shaw starting.
And to hide behind the exertions of Thursday night in the San Siro would be lame.
Solskjaer called for his better players 20 minutes into the second half but, by then, the pattern of this match had been established.
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The sloppiness that led to Kelechi Iheanacho’s opener set the tone. That Youri Tielemans and Iheanacho rendered Mason Greenwood’s equaliser redundant was what Leicester deserved.
When you consider Brendan Rodgers was without Harvey Barnes and James Maddison, this was a game that even this starting United team should have been favourites for.
But while Leicester were excellent, United were abject.
Fred was conspicuously poor but hardly alone. And a do-or-die contest such as this is when you want your marquee players to stand tall.
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Paul Pogba did well for United’s goal but that was about it and on the evidence of this performance, Harry Maguire would not get back into his old team.
It was one of Solskjaer’s most underwhelming days as United manager, that is for sure.
Staying in the top four will keep him in a job and there is a chance United could win the Europa League.
But if they don’t, no need to worry.
They can always try and hang ribbons on that fat shirt sponsorship deal.
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