Manchester United's 1-0 defeat at home to Sunderland this past weekend was the latest nail in the coffin of a forgettable campaign at Old Trafford, which defender Patrice Evra has termed "a disaster."
Should sixth-place Tottenham secure a point against Aston Villa next Sunday, the Red Devils will have to settle for the seventh spot, and Evra is quoted by the Daily Mail's Paul Hirst saying the club is fully deserving of any criticism:
This year has been a disaster. This year we have been really poor. We deserve all the criticism. We have not played well enough. We have lost some stupid games.
When we are on the pitch we try to win every game but it's been so painful this season, it's been a nightmare. When I look at the table I just feel a big frustration. This year is a season I want to forget really quickly.
The full-back is out of contract in June and turns 33 next weekend, meaning he could become the latest veteran figure of United's squad to depart for pastures new, following the example of Inter-bound Nemanja Vidic.
Following such a dismal campaign, especially after a title-winning season, it shouldn't be a shock to see some of the club's players move on, especially as United look to move on into a new era.
Saturday's result was the seventh defeat United have suffered on home soil this season, with interim manager Ryan Giggs swiftly losing some of the sheen that came with his side's 4-0 win over Norwich City a week prior.
Phil McNulty of BBC Sport talked about the defeat and how it plays into United's search for a new manager:
At least Ed Woodward can now move towards the appointment of Man Utd's new manager without the Ryan Giggs bandwagon rumbling behind him.— Phil McNulty (@philmcnulty) May 3, 2014
WhoScored.com show just how quickly the side's resilience has diminished when playing in home territory:
Manchester United: Have lost as many PL games at Old Trafford this season (7) as they had in their previous 69 PL matches there— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) May 3, 2014
The sacked David Moyes will of course court his share of blame for recent failures, failing to live up to the "Chosen One" tag bestowed upon him by club fans following his succession of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Evra is in no way ignorant of the transition which has affected his side:
I think there has been a lack of confidence. Sir Alex Ferguson was the heart of Manchester United. He is a legend. You cannot replace him so quickly.
We knew it would be difficult but not this difficult. We can do much better than we have done—maybe not win the league but at least qualify for the Champions League with the players we have.
Ferguson's retirement happened to coincide with a raft of managerial changes in the English top flight, with Chelsea and Manchester City each appointing new faces in the shapes of Jose Mourinho and Manuel Pellegrini, respectively.
This helped set the stage for what many have termed the most open Premier League campaign ever, and United have looked mediocre at best when compared with their other top-four contenders, for the most part.
Evra was quizzed on what his future holds and whether it would unfold at Old Trafford, responding with an answer which would appear to leave the door very open for a potential exit:
I will decide in two weeks about what I am going to do. There have been a lot of rumours, but I have not decided anything yet. My agent will have a meeting with Manchester and we will see.
Look, everyone knows how much I love this club. It's difficult.... The reason is an important reason. And you will see. I will tell if I am staying or leaving this club at the end of the season.
The French international is unrelenting and to the point in his assessment, but it's merely an honest view of the club's last nine months, light years away from the standards many within the squad will have grown used to.