Date: 8th April 2009 at 10:36am
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Sir Alex spent the entire last month trying to convince everyone that the Quintuple was still impossible. He was merely trying to play down expectations, you might say. And too bloody right he was to do so.

It is clear now that unless a miracle intervenes United will go out of the Champions League. Because for once I have to agree with the papers: it looks like we are running out of steam, running on empty.

Martin Samuel writes that ‘United look knackered. Not just tired, puffed out or waiting for a second wind. They look dead on their feet, exhausted, as if the hangover of that night in Moscow and a Premier League title race that went to Wigan Athletic on the last day of last season has suddenly kicked in.’

And you must admit it looks like that. The body language of the players, the way they move, the slowness and sloppiness with which they react in certain situations: it all point to a desperate mental and physical tiredness.

Injuries don’t help the situation: but the situation is partly responsible for the injuries, as Fergie has stated in the case of Jonny Evans: he paid the price for playing two big games in two days’ time.

I hate to say it but this has shades of 1992 to it when an insane fixture pile-up at the end prevented United from ending their Championship draught. If we go out of the Champions League – which is looking likely – then at least we might be able to pick ourselves up and get that league title which, above all else, must still be the priority.