Manchester United fans might have thought it was as bad as it was going to get…and then Sunday happened.
Losing to Liverpool always hurts supporters of the reigning champions, but when that loss could ultimately help the Reds to the title? That is the kind of thing that can leave an emotional scar.
But with their hopes of a top-four finish now well and truly over, David Moyes’ side must focus on the one competition they can still enjoy success in – the Champions League.
Currently 2-0 down to an impressive Olympiakos side, it will take one of those European glory nights for United to get the result they need to qualify for the quarter-finals. But speaking prior to the game, defender Phil Jones has high hopes.
In an interview with UEFA’s official website, the England international said of the Old Trafford fans, “They’ve got a massive part to play.
“They’ve been with us through the good and the bad, especially this season. They are the ones that can certainly lift us and urge us on. It’s down to us on the pitch but they play a massive role as well.”
And what of United’s struggles this season, and the player’s hopes for the future?
“We don’t give up,” he said. “Our mentality is to keep training hard, keep doing the right things and eventually it will turn.
“We truly believe that and that is what will happen. We have got to be patient and we have got to stick at it but it will come, and when it does, we will enjoy it.”
It is an admirable mind-set, and his words suggest that behind the scenes the United players and staff believe that this is a blip rather than the new order of things.
With the players at Moyes’ disposal, and the likely summer spending spree that will see a number of high-profile arrivals, one tends to agree with Jones about the good times returning eventually.
But this season? Well it will take one almighty effort to even qualify for the next round of the Champions League, let alone win the thing.