Michael Carrick promised Manchester United would make a swift return to the Champions League after defeat to Bayern Munich in Germany all but confirmed that next season they would miss the competition for the first time since 1995-96.
United defended well for an almost an hour, but just 22 seconds after Patrice Evra’s thunderbolt had given them a surprise lead Bayern scored the first of three goals that wrapped up a 4-2 aggregate win.
With the odds well against United claiming fourth in the Barclays Premier League, they look set to face a wait before playing on Europe’s biggest stage again.
“Obviously it’s not good enough,” said Carrick.
“We’ve said that over the last few weeks. It’s not good enough because this club should be in the Champions League.
“It was always going to be tough tonight, but the reason we’re not in the Champions League is not because of tonight, it’s our league form over the season and we take responsibility for that.
“It’s been over a time period, we’ve had too many bad results and ultimately we pay for it. I don’t think there’ll be a knock-on effect.
“We’ll pick ourselves up as well as we can and come back next season believing we can challenge for the title again.
“This is where we want to be. This is where we’ve been for a long time and we’ll be back here in the not too distant future.”
United were weathering the storm well and started the second half the stronger, but although a stunning strike from Evra briefly silenced the Bayern fans, United were caught cold – with Evra at fault – as Bayern levelled through Mario Mandzukic almost immediately to completely change the dynamic of the game.
Thomas Müller put Bayern in front with a close range effort 23 minutes from the end and Arjen Robben sealed the result with the third.
United manager David Moyes insisted he had never been told that Champions League qualification was a minimum requirement in terms of his job security or with regards to his transfer budget for the summer.
“That’s not a question for me,” he said when asked about his job.
“My job is just to get on with my job and my focus is on getting a side together to get back in the Champions League. That’s our main objective now.”