This 2014/15 season has been a learning curve at Manchester United for both players and new manager Louis van Gaal.
Faced with mounting injuries as well as new tactics, the Red Devils have had to quickly learn how to perfect their individual roles while also being ready to play out of position when covering absences.
To make top four after last year’s failure has actually been quite impressive, but once the new campaign starts United will not receive the same kind of praise for just scrapping Champions League qualification.
The club are expected to spend millions once again in order to strengthen the team into potential title winners, but there are a few current players who need to improve further if United want to have any chance of overcoming the mighty Chelsea…
Crowned the most expensive teenager in the world when he signed for United last summer, Shaw was always going to struggle to live up to that title.
But few would have predicted that his first season could have gone so badly. Injuries and a pre-season criticism from Van Gaal condemning his fitness levels have restricted the 19-year-old from making the positive impact he’d have hoped.
Shaw only made 16 league appearances and finished the campaign with another injury. The defender will need to toughen up next season if he wants to look like anything other than an eye-wateringly expensive flop.
The Argentine winger has only been with United just one season and yet is already embroiled in a potential Old Trafford exit saga.
The 27-year-old started the campaign in fine form, completely living up to the expectations supporters had but over time injuries and a lack of sharpness lead to Di Maria being left on the bench.
He left Real Madrid in search of regular football, so he must feel dismayed that he has not featured as much in his first season as he would have liked. If he does stay, as many United supporters hope, then he’ll need to prove he can maintain form through-out the entirety of the year.
Numerous injuries have seen captain Wayne Rooney at times played deeper than supporters would like so you can’t be too critical of his goal return.
Rooney’s 12 league goals surprisingly make him the club’s top goalscorer but when you compare him to the most prolific player in the division, Sergio Aguero, who found the net an incredible 26 times, you can see where United will need to improve if they want to become genuine title contenders.
The England international has on the whole had a great season for the Red Devils, but a few more goals would be helpful.
The big Belgian really came into his own this season following last year’s nightmare, but a lack of discipline still lets down his game.
No United player gave away more fouls (61) than Fellaini, who has spent his career playing a more physical and aggressive game than most. In comparison to someone like Rooney, who conceded 25 less fouls than his team mate despite playing six more games, you realise how much more physical the midfielder is.
Fouls give away possession and gift the opponent free kicks in dangerous areas, not to mention the possibility of a red card, as Fellaini saw on the final game of the season.
Evans only has one-year left on his United contract, having joined the club as a youth player back in 2004.
But his performances this season, which have been hampered by injuries, may not have been good enough to get him another renewal. United are in desperate need of defenders so his transfer may depend on whether or not Van Gaal can find a suitable replacement.
If Evans does stay then he’ll need to prove that he is more reliable and solid than he has been this season.