Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal warned supporters they still must temper their expectations after their 2015-16 Premier League season drew to a fruitless conclusion.
Goals from Wayne Rooney, Marcus Rashford and Ashley Young sealed a comfortable 3-1 win over Bournemouth in Tuesday's rearranged fixture at Old Trafford. But having slipped up in their penultimate game of the season against West Ham United, it wasn't enough to see van Gaal's side climb above neighbours Manchester City, who claim the final Champions League qualifying spot, leaving United to battle it out in the Europa League next season.
Van Gaal was initially greeted by boos as he addressed the crowd after the final whistle. But when asked about the crowd reaction in his post-match interview, the Dutchman reiterated he has had to contend with a team still very much in transition all season.
"I have also said the expectation is very high," he told Sky Sports. "Especially the fans, they are expecting a lot. But I think these expectations are much too high, we are a team in transition. It is what I said when I started. But maybe I have to bring over the message more than I have done."
Having also explained injuries had not helped his side's cause this season, van Gaal again stressed the club are still in need of better options in attack. "I have said this season we need creative, fast attackers. I said that. We have to take care of that. But nevertheless, when everyone was fit, we were first in the league, these are the facts."
With United's Champions League hopes ended on Sunday with Man City's draw at Swansea City, United started the evening knowing Europa League qualification was the best they could realistically hope for in front of a depleted Old Trafford crowd.
After a slow start to the match, Anthony Martial sprung into life down the left flank, combining with Juan Mata before finding Rooney who swept home from six yards out.
Rashford, who was called into the England senior squad on Monday, was involved in the opener and got himself on the scoresheet in the second half, finding the bottom corner with a wonderful finish after a knockdown from Antonio Valencia.
Ashley Young, who hadn't featured for his club since the 3-0 defeat to Tottenham in April, came off the bench to add a third, latching onto Rooney's superb lofted through ball to slot past Adam Federici.