10 Things Manchester United Learned from the 2013/14 Season
It was a miserable season for Manchester United.
They relinquished their title, watched rivals Liverpool and Manchester City fight it out at the top, recorded their lowest finish since the formation of the Premier League and missed out on European football.
But they did learn some valuable lessons, including never to put a banner up at Old Trafford for someone who hasn't earned it.
Here's a list of 10 things we learned from United's season.
Feel free to use the comments section below to add what you learned.
1. Not Just Anyone Can Follow Sir Alex Ferguson
United thought they had found another Sir Alex Ferguson when they appointed David Moyes as manager last summer.
But it didn't work out.
Moyes left Old Trafford after just 10 months in charge. He inherited the champions and left them seventh in the table with hopes of European football all but over.
It only served as more evidence, if any was needed, of how good Ferguson was.
2. It's Better to Wait for Someone to Earn a Banner Rather Than Just Put One Up
Old Trafford is filled with banners marking the achievements of United's greatest players and managers.
Sir Alex Ferguson, Ryan Giggs and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have all got one. But the difference between theirs and the Chosen One banner is that Moyes didn't earn his.
Even the man himself seemed a bit sheepish whenever he was asked about it.
In the end, it had to come down. The final embarrassment of a failed reign.
3. Don't Leave Your Transfer Business Until Deadline Day
Any hope David Moyes had of hitting the ground running in his new job was dashed during the summer transfer window.
After a number of failed pursuits, on deadline day, United started to resemble a drunk on the pull at closing time—making offers to anyone who would listen.
Moyes ended up overpaying for Marouane Fellaini in his desperation to land a midfielder.
Less than a year later, it doesn't look like money well spent.
4. David de Gea Is One of the Best Goalkeepers in the World
There were signs last season, but this was a year when David de Gea showed he's well on his way to fulfilling his potential.
He made one mistake against Sunderland in the Capital One Cup. But otherwise, he barely put a foot wrong.
It's never a good sign when your goalkeeper wins your Player of the Year award. But de Gea deserved the recognition.
He can count himself unlucky to miss out on a place in the PFA Team of the Year, too.
5. The Academy Is Still Producing Players
United weren't able to take many positives from what was a disastrous season. But Adnan Januzaj and James Wilson were two.
It wasn't just Januzaj's breakthrough season. He ended the campaign as a key part of the first-team squad.
Still only 19 years old, the hope is he's only going to get better.
Wilson scored twice on his debut against Hull. He's not as far along in his development, but it wasn't a bad start.
6. You Can't Just Throw Money at Problems
United's problems this season weren't down to underinvestment.
Mata is a fine player, but he still couldn't turn United's fortunes. It was because the problems ran deeper than the personnel on the field.
It will serve as a notable lesson to whoever takes charge this summer.
7. Ryan Giggs Wants to Be a Manager
Ryan Giggs perhaps wasn't expecting the opportunity to manage United to arrive quite so soon.
But, when David Moyes was axed with four games to go, the 40-year-old was placed in charge.
Writing in his programme notes ahead of the game with Sunderland, the Welshman said he felt "completely comfortable" in the job.
He is likely to move back into a coaching role when a new manager is appointed. But there's a good chance he'll be a No. 1 one day—perhaps even at Old Trafford.
8. Paul Scholes Has Still Got It
Paul Scholes retired for the second and final time last summer.
But when Ryan Giggs took over as caretaker manager, his first phone call was to his Class of '92 team-mate.
It gave Scholes the chance to get back onto the training pitch with a ball at his feet.
And anyone who saw him join in with the warm-ups before games will have seen straight away that he's still got it.
If you didn't know any better, it was hard to tell who were the players and who was the coach.
9. The United Fans Have Got a Sense of Humour
Sir Alex Ferguson asked the United fans to back David Moyes last summer.
And, for the most part, and in spite of some dreadful performances, they did just that. At the end of the 3-0 defeat to Liverpool, they sang "20 times, 20 times Man United" for 20 minutes.
They didn't even flinch when Luis Suarez scored the third.
They could often be heard singing "We are staying up" after the odd positive result. But there was never a collective outpouring of anger directed at Moyes, even in the darkest moments.
10. It's Better to Be the One to Follow the One Who Follows Sir Alex
David Moyes had an unenviable task when he took over at United.
He had to follow the club's most successful manager. Sir Alex Ferguson set the bar high, and Moyes couldn't live up to it.
But after a disappointing season, the level of expectation at Old Trafford isn't as great.
If United finish next season in the top four, it will be considered a small success. The job seems a lot more manageable now than it did 12 months ago.