It’s been a turbulent season for Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal, as the Dutchman has come under intense scrutiny throughout the campaign.
Whether the Dutchman sees out the final year of his contract next season remains to be seen, but his more immediate focus will be on winning the FA Cup against Crystal Palace this weekend.
That though is simply not enough for a club the stature of United, with their supporters growing accustomed to competing for major honours both at home and abroad over the years.
A fifth-placed finish in the Premier League only tells half the story, as Sky Sports have revealed the statistics behind the season that shows just how much of a struggle it has been for the Red Devils in comparison to recent years.
United accumulated their second-worst ever points total in a single campaign this year, doing narrowly better than they managed under David Moyes and Ryan Giggs in 2013/14.
On that occasion, they collected 64 points, this time round it was 66, as they picked up their joint-lowest number of wins in a season and fell to 10 defeats in a single campaign for only the second time.
It will come as no surprise to supporters that United set a new club record for the fewest goals scored in a season with just 49, while their previous lowest tally was 48 in 2004/05.
The statistics regarding chances created, shots on target and top goalscorer all paint the same sorry picture, and it ultimately just confirms what many of Van Gaal’s critics have alluded to over the past six months or so.
United have lost their spark and flair and in turn have become an efficient unit instead, a departure from the mentality and culture that was built by previous managers.
Whether or not it continues to cost the club in the long run remains to be seen, but after Van Gaal was greeted by boos from sections of supporters following their final game of the season on Tuesday night, it is clear that many will want a change this summer.
While results have ultimately not been good enough, the type of performances that United have been delivering this year has made it all the more difficult for supporters and former players to watch. Had Van Gaal played a more expansive style then perhaps he would have escaped a certain level of criticism, but he didn’t, and in turn he finds himself in a tough position.