The lessons are harsh, but Sir Alex Ferguson has seen them all before – and learnt from them before.
The axis of England’s attack last night against Italy in the Euro quarters rested on the United trio of Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Ashley Young.
In this tournament of those three only young Welbeck has emerged with all stars in tact.
While the shocker has been Young, it is the lack of attacking options that United will have next season if the axis fails again – as it did against Italy.
What United do not have is England’s Carroll’s option – albeit with a player who can pass the ball after trapping it.
Sir Alex would do no better than look beyond Mario Gomes of Germany as giving United a depth and different aerial attacking option.
The Welbeck-Rooney-Chicharito route looks set to be the bedrock of Old Trafford’s route to the title, but what of the days when defenders can see the touch and go coming; when Welbeck’s runs behind the defence or Chicharito’s darting moves are tracked?
United do not have an option.
Manchester City on the other had while tighten their grip on the trophy with Robin Van Persie, Mario Balotelli, David Silva and a few others offering them several attacking options.
What United need is a Ruud Van Niestelroy kind of player and Gomez, considered a Ballotelli-type underperformer till now has suddenly shows the world what he is capable of.
The Bayern Munich striker, 26, who cost £30million when he signed from Stuttgart in 2009, has has scored 25 goals in 54 games for Germany.
England could have used him last night – as could Manchester United.