Manchester United is where big stars go to struggle as Champions League exit to Atletico Madrid proves
MANCHESTER, England -- You know the script by now: Manchester United play a big game, their star players fail to perform as they are outfought and outthought by their opponents and, as surely as night follows day,
they lose. Atletico Madrid's 1-0 Champions League win at Old Trafford, which sent United out of the competition at the round of 16 stage, was simply the same old story.
You'll know the damning statistics too: United have won just two Champions League knockout ties since 2011, and there has been no home win in the knockout rounds since 2014. Since that 3-0 win against
Olympiakos under David Moyes eight years ago, they have scored just one goal at Old Trafford after emerging from the group stage.
This is the modern-day Manchester United: a European heavyweight that has been knocked to the canvas more times than they care to remember since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, and Renan Lodi's 41st minute goal on Tuesday was merely the latest hammer blow.
There are no surprises with United anymore, just brutal predictability. When the heat is on, they wilt, and it will take more than a new manager and another so-called "cultural reset" this summer to slam on the brakes and point the club in the right direction. But how has it come to this? Over the past 10 years
United's gross transfer spend has been £1.4 billion, and only Chelsea and Manchester City have spent more. Those two clubs have won countless major trophies in return for their investment, but United's silverware drought is now five years and counting since winning the 2017 Europa League under Jose Mourinho.