Manchester United never wanted to appear in the Europa League but once they parachuted into the tournament in the last-32 Sir Alex Ferguson remained adamant they would treat the trophy like any other competition.

But those lofty ideals lie in tatters in the wake of their comprehensive aggregate defeat by Athletic Bilbao in the last-16 on Thursday night.

Their Basque opponents tore into Manchester United, pressing the visitors all over the pitch and attacking with a tempo Ferguson's side could not cope with.

"The disappointment for me is losing such a soft goal," the Manchester United manager is quoted on the Telegraph. "It was a bad one for an English team to lose a goal like that, a long ball. At the start of the second half they could have scored two or three goals, they had us on the back foot for most of those first 20 minutes.

"I don't think we can complain about the result. I think that, in the second half in particular, Bilbao were the better team."

With that in mind, IBTimes Sport takes a look at the lessons to be learnt from Manchester United's European woes this season.