After the heart breaking last minute collapse against Fulham at home recently, David Moyes told us how the season had gotten as bad as it could possibly have become. In hindsight, he probably jinxed it, because last night was surely the nadir. Quite how professional players at that level could turn in such a performance still baffles me.
Forget the tactics or whatever you might want to rationalise the performance with, there is no possible explanation to justify what was surely the worst Manchester United performance in memory. I mean it's difficult finding an adjective that does justice to it. Lethargic? Lacklustre? Laboured? Take a pick, none will suffice.
As fans watching the game last night, we are supposed to keep in mind that these are professionals good at what they do and therefore are much better than us on the pitch, but it was hard to rate yourself below the standards displayed last night. And yet some of those players earn just short of a million quid a month. A look at the wages of the Greek champions in comparison to the side they so easily outsmarted will literally make you weep.
We've seen bad managers before, but at a club of United's stature, with the quality of players they have, no one bad manager would get them to play as unbothered as last night. They're not sheep. But it appears they chose to be. David Moyes must have been shocked as much as anyone. For all his flaws as a manager, he doesn't have the dark powers to blind an entire team to the extent of not recognising the badge on the shirt they are wearing.
Defeat is acceptable, but not in the manner in which United succumbed last night. For a side that embodies the traits of ambition, desire, entertainment and a never say die attitude, that was hollow, and the entire personnel employed to live up to those ideals must now take a long hard look at themselves, probably have a word with themselves too.
Our job as fans is to support the team even during the not so great seasons. We're not asking the team to suddenly make top 4 and qualify for the Champions League, we're not asking the team to win this season's European Cup, because we appreciate that this season was always going to be tough. But the one thing we are entitled to demand from our club is to try. To care. To show effort. At the moment, they all look like they can't wait for their next cheque. If only they understood how many of those who travelled to watch them in Athens would do their jobs for free.
If only they knew.