United face another season without Champions League football and are in danger of morphing into David Moyes' defeatist side.
"We've got to rebuild and our focus now is getting a team together to get back in this competition because it's a really important competition and we've really enjoyed it."
David Moyes hit the right notes about as often as an early X Factor hopeful but he was right about Manchester United's 'need to rebuild' as he came to terms with defeat at Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena.
Thirteen days later, the rebuild began when Moyes sacking was confirmed.
His permanent replacement, Louis van Gaal, has sounded like Moyes on a regularly recurring basis for over a year and his assertion that it will 'be difficult' for United to finish in the top four was reminiscent of the hapless Scot's sorry soundbites.
With 12 games remaining in the most open and unpredictable season on record, Van Gaal grabbed the towel at Sunderland and, come our next league game at home to Arsenal, he might as well throw it in.
He has sounded so defeatist in recent months that it would not have surprised supporters had he opined United were 'going to make it as difficult for them as we possibly can' ahead of the Newcastle trip.
The parallels with the doomed David Moyes season are almost eerie.
Again, United had a chance to salvage their campaign but dithered- we've not been in the top four for two months and look as far off it as ever currently.
United appointed Van Gaal to avoid the ignominy of challenging for a Champions League qualifying spot- but instead they have regressed to their plucky Evertonian standards of Moyes reign two years ago which saw us 'outplayed' by Sunderland.
That was Van Gaal's description.
Moyes survived the Olympiakos farce: LVG survived his own equivalent against Southampton last month.
In the most corrosive atmosphere since the Glazer takeover, the boos were aimed at one man who practically dared the club to sack him.
"I'm very dissapointed I cannot reach the expectations of the fans" said Van Gaal afterwards.
"They have- or they had- great expectations of me and I cannot fulfill them so I am very frustrated because of that" he added.
What is taking Ed Woodward so long?
Dismissing Van Gaal now would allow Jose Mourinho the chance to galvanise the squad, have a tilt at Champions League qualification and prepare for next season.
United could still qualify for the Champions League through the Europa League: a method not so much by the back door but through the cat flap.
That is what United have been reduced to: a couple of good performances against mediocrity, unconvincing wins and the odd debacle.
The Reds have played nine games this calendar year and won five of them, two of which were over Football League sides and the Sheffield United FA Cup tie a victory only in record.
There are suggestions that United were so traumatised by the circus Moyes removal caused that they are reluctant to jettison Van Gaal before the end of the season but such diplomacy does not cut it at this level.
The rebuild starts with the manager.
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