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Manchester United optimism quickly snuffed out by return of old failings | Manchester United

A brilliant solar, a blue sky, the temperature climbing past 20C. The trams packed effectively over three hours earlier than kick-off, the megastore rammed. The stewards and safety males disconcertingly chirpy. The face of the brand new supervisor obvious from the scarves stretched out on the stalls on Matt Busby Means. A definite buzz within the air. Even perhaps, if one actually seemed for it, a way of optimism. Then they kicked off.

There have been loads of dispiriting afternoons for Manchester United in recent times however few fairly so dispiriting as this. The sensation was maybe that Brighton, having bought Yves Bissouma and Marc Cucurella, wouldn’t be fairly what that they had been final season, the hope for residence followers that Erik ten Hag’s hardline strategy would have reworked them. However Brighton outplayed United for lengthy intervals and would possibly, in fact, have received extra comfortably, notably had Lisandro Martínez been penalised for what appeared an apparent barge within the field on Danny Welbeck. All of the acquainted late United surge achieved was to cut back the margin of defeat to 2-1. New daybreak? Usual United.

Even Avram Glazer, enthused by the prospect of a brand new begin, turned up, sitting within the administrators’ field with the fastened stare and vacant smile attribute of extraordinarily rich males pretending to know the occasions being performed out in entrance of them. To his left, Sir Alex Ferguson glowered down with the hardly repressed frustration that has been his recurring mode for the 9 years since he retired.

The injured Anthony Martial had arrived a couple of minutes earlier than Glazer to common beaming and fist-bumps whereas a row in entrance Gareth Southgate wore a quizzical air, watching considered one of his England leaders, Harry Maguire, working unusually because the right-sided central defender, bellowing in despair as all construction disappeared. His two England forwards, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, have been outshone by the largely forgotten Welbeck, who saved plucking passes out of the sky with a deftness that instructed his boots had been original from Niall Quinn’s chest.

Early within the second half Marcus Rashford allowed a easy move to roll underneath his foot and out for a throw-in. It was that form of day all spherical. He’s a shell of the participant he was, hollowed out by a insecurity so profound {that a} late offside flag in a single counterattack felt virtually merciless due to the chance it afforded him to mess up the end.

Marcus Rashford against Brighton
Marcus Rashford continues to be woefully wanting confidence. {Photograph}: Michael Regan/Getty Pictures

All of the discuss earlier than kick-off had been of Cristiano Ronaldo being left on the bench whereas Christian Eriksen began as a false 9. May this be a counterintuitive change as productive as Ten Hag’s deployment of Dusan Tadic within the function at Ajax? Maybe it is going to be however United’s ahead line was so little concerned it was very tough to inform. Eriksen’s solely actual contribution was to be casually swatted apart by the spectacular Moisés Caicedo within the buildup to the second aim.

It was that sense of diffidence, of being picked aside virtually in gradual movement, that was so hanging. Ten Hag’s Night time of the Lengthy Kitchen Knives, culling the squad’s private cooks in an effort to enhance vitamin and refocus minds on the membership, might have made his gamers fitter however their urgent was no higher than it had been within the worst days of final season.

‘It won’t come in a single day’: Erik ten Hag on Manchester United’s opening day defeat – video

Into which chaos Ronaldo was launched – to a mixture of boos and cheers – eight minutes into the second half. Lots of the flaws on the membership have been exacerbated by his signing final August however within the absence of anything he stays in all probability the almost certainly source of a aim. Which is, after all, a part of the issue. Bringing him on felt like an admission by Ten Hag that every one else had failed.

When Plan A fails, chuck on the prolific goalscorer who does probably not match and hope for the perfect. That at the very least had the benefit of shifting Eriksen a lot deeper, the place he was much more snug, however Brighton have been nonetheless pretty unflustered, even after conceding following Robert Sánchez’s flap at a nook.

There are experiences of Marko Arnautovic being signed as short-term cowl, hopes nonetheless of touchdown Benjamin Sesko and Frenkie de Jong, nevertheless it feels now that that is about greater than personnel. In soccer, type can change in a short time however what was maybe most hurtful on Sunday was simply how acquainted this felt. Ten Hag, Ralf Rangnick, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, José Mourinho, Louis van Gaal, David Moyes … altering the pilot issues little when the tanker is heading inexorably within the mistaken path. Mikel Arteta, presumably, can be getting ready for Arsenal’s go to to Outdated Trafford subsequent month by having his group practice to a soundtrack of grim muttering and resigned derision.

There are not any straightforward options. This isn’t about ketchup or chips, not about urgent or conditioning, not concerning the coach or the captain, the assault or the defence. It’s a couple of membership that has misplaced its method totally, a couple of management in a panic, grabbing at options with none actual grasp of how they could be utilized. The place do United go? That may be very exhausting to say however ideally they’d not be beginning with a primary ever residence defeat by Brighton.



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Source: https://www.theguardian.com/soccer/weblog/2022/aug/07/manchester-united-optimism-quickly-snuffed-out-by-return-of-old-failings

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