Manchester United are on their worst trophy drought in 40 years after being knocked out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid.

Defeat in Europe means the earliest United can achieve silverware is by winning next season’s League Cup final, which is due to take place on February 26, 2023.

With 2017 the last time United won a major trophy, they are now on their longest drought in four decades. After victory in the 1977 FA Cup, they had to wait until 1983 for their next triumph when they won the same competition.

United’s win rate of 45 per cent in all competitions this term is also their lowest since the 1989-90 season.

Sir Alex Ferguson
Manchester United have not won the Premier League since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013

Since former manager Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, United have lifted just three pieces of silverware. The FA Cup under Louis van Gaal in 2016, and the League Cup and Europa League under Jose Mourinho the following year.

After the high-profile arrivals of Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho last summer, United were expected to mount a serious challenge for trophies this season, but they quickly fell behind rivals Manchester City and Liverpool in the Premier League and now face an uphill struggle to finish in the top four.

In a campaign that has seen former player Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lose his job as manager and Ralf Rangnick become interim boss, United crashed out of both domestic cup competitions with home losses to West Ham in September and Middlesbrough last month.

Their remaining hope was the Champions League, but defeat by Atletico Madrid in the last 16 sees their trophy drought extend into a sixth consecutive season.

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History repeating itself?

Sky Sports’ Dan Sansom:

May 24, 2017. The last time Manchester United won a major trophy.

April 22, 2013. The last time Manchester United won the Premier League.

Under Sir Alex Ferguson, United never went more than three seasons without winning the Premier League title. For those who grew up knowing nothing else but endless success under the Scot, it is therefore understandable to view the current run of eight years following his retirement as a catastrophe.

But for a club and institution the size of United, that’s exactly what it is. Since his departure, United have lifted just three major trophies in nine seasons.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was tasked with restoring United to former glories when he replaced Jose Mourinho in 2018, but a mammoth penalty shootout loss to Villarreal in last season’s Europa League final was the closest he came before eventually being sacked later that year.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked in November and replaced by Ralf Rangnick after failing to win silverware

Attention then turned to interim boss Ralf Rangnick, but a shock FA Cup defeat by Middlesbrough ended United’s best chance of winning silverware in what has been – to put it mildly – a disastrous 2021/22 campaign.

It is now half a decade since United last won a major trophy – their longest drought in 40 years.

Liverpool waited 30 years for a top-flight title. It will already be 10 if United fall short in the league next season and although it might be a stretch to suggest they are on the same path, history has a strange way of repeating itself.

On current evidence, United’s barren streak looks set to continue for a while yet.

Man Utd’s performance since 2013

How have Manchester United performed since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013?

2013-14 season

Manager: David Moyes, Ryan Giggs (interim)
Premier League: 7th
FA Cup: Third Round
League Cup: Semi-finals
Champions League: Quarter-finals

2014-15 season

Manager: Louis van Gaal
Premier League: 4th
FA Cup: Quarter-finals
League Cup: Second Round

2015-16 season

Louis van Gaal
Louis van Gaal’s final game in charge of Manchester United was the FA Cup final in 2016

Manager: Louis van Gaal
Premier League: 5th
FA Cup: Winners
League Cup: Fourth Round
Champions League: Group stage
Europa League: Round of 16

2016-17 season

Jose Mourinho, Manchester United
Jose Mourinho’s first of two major trophies as Manchester United manager was the League Cup in 2017

Manager: Jose Mourinho
Premier League: 6th
FA Cup: Quarter-finals
League Cup: Winners
Europa League: Winners

Jose Mourinho
Manchester United won the Europa League for the first time in 2017 after beating Ajax 2-0 in the final

2017-18 season

Manager: Jose Mourinho
Premier League: 2nd
FA Cup: Runners-up
League Cup: Quarter-finals
Champions League: Round of 16

2018-19 season

Manager: Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (interim then permanent)
Premier League: 6th
FA Cup: Quarter-finals
League Cup: Third Round
Champions League: Quarter-finals

2019-20 season

Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Premier League: 3rd
FA Cup: Semi-finals
League Cup: Semi-finals
Europa League: Semi-finals

2020-21 season

Emery kisses the Europa League trophy in Gdansk
Manchester United were beaten in last season’s Europa League final by Unai Emery’s Villarreal

Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Premier League: 2nd
FA Cup: Quarter-finals
League Cup: Semi-finals
Champions League: Group stage
Europa League: Runners-up

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