The Red Devils crashed out of Europe with defeat to Atletico Madrid, leaving the club with questions to answer at every level in the coming months

Match statistics: Manchester United 0-1 Atletico Madrid

In a season of lows for Manchester United, this was the lowest.

Their final chance of silverware gone, as they were dumped out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid at Old Trafford.

Ralf Rangnick had called for a better display from his team than the one he saw in Madrid, and for half an hour he got what he asked for. But Renan Lodis header, coupled with naivety from United in the second half, sent the Red Devils crashing out at the last-16 stage.

Not only does this mean that their wait for a trophy will go into a sixth year, but their dismal record in Champions League knockout ties has continued. They have won just two ties since 2011: an elite European club, at least on the pitch, they are not.

A more immediate concern is that a return to the competition next season is far from certain. A fourth-place finish in the Premier League is out of their hands, and with potential qualification by winning the tournament this season now impossible, they face a real prospect of another year of Europa League football, at best.

Watching some of United’s displays this season, it would not be difficult to argue that they belong in Europe’s second tier, rather than among the very best.

To be fair to Rangnicks side, they performed better here than they have for most of the season. But as with previous games, they only managed to sustain it through the first half.

Fred, who has been in fine form in recent weeks, was exceptional at the heart of United’s midfield. One slick move where he turned Stefan Savic on the byline to create an opening for United in the first half will make it onto his season highlight reel, but in another trophyless season that counts for nothing.

The intensity, aggression and precision that had been so lacking at the Wanda Metripolitano in the first leg was evident from kick off at Old Trafford. Rangnick had called for the players and the supporters to be on top form to get them through, and it seemed like they had listened.

Manchester United end the season trophyless for the fifth campaign in a row ???? pic.twitter.com/wQkt87MbaA

Anthony Elanga was denied by the face of Jan Oblak after a slick move from United, but despite their possession and dominance, they failed to really test the Atletico goalkeeper. It was Cristiano Ronaldos first Champions League game in 11 years where he played 90 minutes and did not manage a shot.

If there is one team in Europe you do no want to go a goal down to in a knockout tie, it is Diego Simeone’s Atletico. They are masters of the dark arts, and were more than happy to sit back and soak up pressure before hitting United on the counter.

Their off-the ball-tactics angered Uniteds players, staff and fans, but they knew exactly what they needed to do and it worked perfectly for the visitors.

While Atleti know exactly how to perform to go through in these knockout ties, this is a United side who have no idea how to perform when the pressure increases.

“They know how to play these games,” David de Gea told BT Sport. “As soon as they scored the goal, they put the whole team in front of [Jan] Oblak. A very defensive team. We are really really sad.

“Of course, it’s hard for the club, for us, for the fans, really hard. This is where we are at the moment, it’s a difficult situation.

“We need to keep fighting, keep trying our best, but it’s a difficult moment again. I feel sad for the fans and for everyone. We are not good enough.”

De Gea is not wrong in his final assessment, and major changes need to be made from top to bottom at United for that fact to change.

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