Former Manchester United midfielder Luke Chadwick has attempted to explain why the team has been so poor at home this season.
The Red Devils played their final Premier League match at Old Trafford yesterday, but once again dropped points as they could only manage a 1-1 draw with already-relegated Fulham.
This has been the story of Man Utd’s season in many ways, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side often looking far better on the road than at their home ground.
Chadwick thinks the lack of fans at games may have affected United more than most, though there was a small crowd back for yesterday’s game.
“I think one explanation could be the eerie lack of atmosphere in such a huge stadium,” Chadwick told CaughtOffside. “Obviously that’s been the same for every other team but Man United seem to have struggled with it worse than most.
“Their away form has been incredible this season, which is lucky really, if their home form had been right they’d be real challengers. There was a bit more of a zip to the play at the start of the Fulham game and I thought the crowd had an effect, but then it sort of slipped back to normal and it was a bit of a lacklustre second half in particular.
“Even if it was only 10,000 fans it was great to see them back, but it’s a shame they couldn’t welcome the supporters back into the stadium with a really positive performance.”
Chadwick is optimistic about his old club’s chances next season, however, as he suggested this side can still get better, even if rivals such as Liverpool and Chelsea might also do the same as they also look to catch up with Manchester City next year.
“I don’t think United have been brilliant this season by any stretch of the imagination, so that’s encouraging in a way, that they’ve got to second place in the league and at points looking like they might challenge,” Chadwick said.
“Some strengthening and they can be even closer to City next season. You imagine Liverpool probably won’t be as bad next season as this season, but hopefully that can bring the best out of Manchester United to stay towards the top of the league.
“Ole has moved the team forward, we’re second in the league, in the Europa League final … if they can just take those next steps, finding their performances, sorting out the home form, the future looks really bright for next season.”