Cape Town - Few Manchester United fans thought life after Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford would be easy but fewer would have imagined the possibility of a second successive season without any silverware and devoid of Champions League football.
Monday's 2-1 home defeat by Arsenal, which eliminated United from the FA Cup, means United face the longest trophyless run since the early days of Ferguson's silverware-laden era.
Ferguson, who succeeded Ron Atkinson in 1986 after the latter lifted the FA Cup in 1985, barely kept his job during his first four barren years in charge but continued in the hot seat when he ended the drought by winning the competition in 1990.
Ferguson's compatriot and successor David Moyes lasted less than a season and was sacked last year when it became clear United would miss out on any European competition, with Ryan Giggs briefly taking over the reigns before handing them over to Louis van Gaal.
Heavy spending by the Dutchman has resulted in little improvement as United continued to look a side vulnerable at the back, bereft of ideas in midfield and lacking firepower up front against opposition of any quality.
But former United midfielder, Roy Keane, is confident the Dutchman would and should be given time to pick up the pieces and put them back together.
"They've got to give him a chance. He needs two or three years to rebuild the club," Keane said.