The Erik Ten Hag era is off to the worst start of any United manager in a generation after he watched his side capitulate away to Brentford on Saturday.
Whatever game plan United had going into this was discarded as Brentford scored four goals in the first 35 minutes to condemn United to a humiliating defeat.
The defeat is United’s seventh in a row on the road, their worst run since 1936. More worrying is that this is the seventh time United have conceded at least four goals in a league game since the start of last season.
Josh Dasilva put the hosts ahead when his strike from distance somehow eluded United goalkeeper David de Gea. That is back to back games in which De Gea has given up soft goals. Will United regret letting Dean Henderson go out on loan?
De Gea was at fault for the second goal as well when his pass to Christian Eriksen on the edge of the United penalty area led to Jensen stealing the ball before slotting low into the net to double Brentford’s lead.
After falling two behind to Brighton last week, it was another stern examination of United’s character, and once again this team failed the test as Brentford struck twice in the space of five minutes to move four clear.
Mee nodded home at the far post to make it three before Mbeumo finished off a rapid counter-attack when he controlled Ivan Toney’s pass before curling the ball beyond a helpless De Gea to put the Bees four up after a scarcely believable 35 minutes.
This has been a rude awakening for United’s new boss, who faces the unenviable task of lifting his players in time for the visit of Liverpool to Old Trafford next week. Afterwards a somewhat shell shocked ETH said says the club “needs quality players”, conceding the standard of the squad is not good enough.
“We have to provide higher standards than what we did today,” he said.
“We are, as a team, in a difficult process. You expect a different start. It’s not what we expected.
“We need new players. We need quality players. We are working on that and we’ll do everything to convince them to come.”
“The team has to take responsibility. I feel really sorry for the fans – they did everything to support us but we let them down,” said Ten Hag.
“You have to take responsibility on the pitch as a team and as individuals, that’s what we didn’t do. What I asked them to do is play with belief and take responsibility for the performance. We have to work on that.
“The manager is responsible as well. He has the main responsibility and I’ll take that and work on that.”