THE fact that this came as no surprise to any Manchester United fan tells you everything.
Back at the top table of European football in the Champions League but feeding on scraps.
GettyManchester United stars look dejected following defeat in Munich[/caption]
No longer the monster that used to gorge its way through group and knockout stages and to finals.
Three times they reached Europe’s elite showpiece between 2008 and 2011 and that was some achievement.
It became the norm for a while.
They could and should have added more titles to the two they achieved under Sir Alex Ferguson.
He knows that. They had the best team in Europe before Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona came along and took charge.
United have won just two Champions League knockout ties in ten years.
There was the comeback against Olympiakos under David Moyes and the dramatic night in Paris that got Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the manager’s job permanently.
That is it for Manchester United, a giant club in name only now.
Nothing on the pitch currently warrants the worldwide affections in which this great club is held.
This was another example of that and Bayern Munich did not actually play that well — proven by their late wobble in a crazy finish.
United, though, were not helped by Andre Onana.
Erik ten Hag got rid of one goalkeeper because he could not use his feet, now he has one who cannot use his hands.
There was hope that things would start to change under Ten Hag.
It certainly looked that way last season as the team reached both domestic cup finals, winning the Carabao Cup and also finishing third in the Premier League.
But things unravel very quickly at this club for managers.
Good buys, good decisions, good results can very suddenly change into bad buys, bad decisions and bad results.
Take a look at Casemiro, he was a passenger again for most of last night.
ReutersAndre Onana was at fault in Munich[/caption]
He suddenly burst into life in the final minutes — scoring two goals — but it all proved too little too late as United ultimately lost 4-3.
There is hope that Rasmus Hojlund (right) will be the No 9 the club has needed for some time.
His first goal for the club last night — after having one chalked off by VAR at the weekend — will give him confidence.
But is he really the answer that Harry Kane could have been?
This team needs so much more.
It feels flat right now, very flat. Those high up in the corner of Bayern’s magnificent Allianz Arena felt it.
Away days like this have become more for the craic than any belief that they are watching a team on the march towards any sort of footballing summit.
“We played well in the first 20 minutes,” one committed Red messaged me during the game.
Such assessments used to be reserved for non-league teams playing a Premier League side in the third round of the FA Cup.
This team can very quickly lose its shape and slump.
GettyHeads have started to go down too quickly again under Erik ten Hag[/caption]
Heads have started to go down too quickly again.
It is strange it has come to this after the hope garnered in Ten Hag’s first campaign.
It was interesting that an interview with former boss Solskjaer came out on the day of this game, reflecting on how his world collapsed when there had been so much hope.
As things started to slide through his fingers, he grasped and grasped but could not hold on.
Of course there should be no knee-jerk reactions over the manager’s position.
Nobody is suggesting there should.
It is not yet a crisis but one is looming — if, for example, Saturday’s trip to Burnley renders Vincent Kompany’s first win as a Premier League boss. Oh dear, are we really here again?
With minutes to go Bayern were playing the ball about with ease.
The game burst into life with three goals in the space of seven minutes but it was fooling no one.
The loyal following looked on. Disappointed, but not surprised.