Manchester United's season went from bad to worse, with manager Ralf Rangnick forced to apologise following a crushing 4-0 defeat against Brighton on Saturday.
This season has been an utterly forgettable one for United fans and Saturday's defeat would rank among its lowest points.
Goals from Moises Caicedo, Marc Cucurella, Pascal Gross and Leandro Trossard at the Amex Stadium knocked the wind out of the Manchester side, whose fall had been rapid and steep.
After 5-0 and 4-0 defeats against rivals Liverpool, a 4-1 loss at Watford that saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sacked in November and an FA Cup loss at home to Championship side Middlesbrough, it seemed United couldn't possibly do worse. But they managed to sink even further.
Sixth-placed United cannot finish in the Premier League's top four and are certain to miss out on the Champions League for only the fifth time in 30 seasons.
"It was a terrible performance. From the first until the last minute it was not enough, we can only apologise for this performance and a humiliating defeat," Rangnick said.
"We just gave too much time and space. We were never in a position where we could stop them playing through our lines. We told the players be as compact as they could but we couldn't stop it."
With 58 points and only one game left, United's fifth successive away defeat means they will finish with their lowest points total in the Premier League era.
Asked if United's players had failed to follow his instructions, Rangnick said: "I don't think they ignored the game-plan but we weren't able to stop them.
"We gave them too much space and if you do that against a technically good team like Brighton, you will get punished."
Brighton, who are looking to finish in the top half of the Premier League for the first time, are ninth.
"It is a special day. United are a top side and we've let our home fans down this season, so it was a nice moment,” Brighton captain Lewis Dunk told Sky Sports.
Caicedo netted his first goal in a Brighton shirt in the 15th minute when he took advantage of the ball ricocheting off Alex Telles to tuck a low drive inside the post from outside of the box.
Cucurella made it 2-0 after the break, firing into the roof of the net from close range. Gross then steered a shot past David de Gea before Trossard added the fourth when Diogo Dalot’s clearance bounced off his chest and into the United goal.
United attempted to fight back but a strong goalkeeping performance from Robert Sanchez kept them out.
The visitors did manage to put the ball in the back of the net, but Edinson Cavani was offside when he poked home after Harry Maguire flashed a ball across the goalmouth.
United have now conceded 56 goals in the Premier League this season, their worst defensive record in a single campaign in the competition.