Manchester United plumbed new depths after a 4-0 capitulation at Brentford sent Erik ten Hag’s side into full-blown crisis mode after just two games of the season.
Through a mixture of catastrophic defensive ineptitude and Brentford opportunism, the Red Devils found themselves four down at half-time.
FT: Brentford 4:0 Manchester United; Watch full highlights as Cristiano Ronaldo side loss again
The long Manchester United decline of the last nine years, with its false dawns, its sackings, its much-heralded reboots, and the declarations of optimism that accompany them, can be a complicated story to read at times but at certain points one is presented with a clarity that is hard to ignore.
Thirty-five minutes into the second game of the reign of Erik ten Hag and the man whose job it is to restore the most troubled institution in elite English football was four goals behind – to Brentford.
He had, lest it be overlooked, already lost his first match, to Brighton, and there were a variety of other problems with the summer too numerous to mention.
He stared into the fierce sunlight of the late evening as if he was trying to discern something out there. Was it a United team, playing in the shirts of unfamiliar green
Manchester United ended Saturday bottom of the Premier League for the first time since August 1992.
This is the first season since the inaugural Premier League campaign in which a United team has lost their opening two fixtures.
On that occasion, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side lost 2-1 at Sheffield United on the opening day – with Brian Deane scoring the competition’s first-ever goal – and followed that up with a 3-0 home defeat to Everton.
That left United bottom for three days from August 19 to 21, but they recovered in emphatic style to become the first-ever Premier League champions.
Barring a heavy defeat for Nottingham Forest or West Ham tomorrow, or Crystal Palace on Monday, Erik ten Hag’s outfit will remain at the foot of the table at least until next weekend – when they play Liverpool.
Goalkeeper David De Gea gifted the first two to Josh Dasilva and Mathias Jensen, Ben Mee helped himself to a third and Bryan Mbeumo hit a slick fourth on a chastening afternoon for the visitors.
New boss Ten Hag had insisted beforehand that he was not panicking despite United’s lack of new signings.
But the Dutchman will surely be scrambling for the button marked ‘P’ after this debacle.
Manchester United players “don’t care” and manager Erik ten Hag is already “making mistakes” as the club hit a new low on Saturday.
That’s according to Jamie Redknapp who, on Sky Sports, was in disbelief as Brentford scored four first-half goals to stun United and all those watching.
Goals from Josh Dasilva, Mathias Jensen, Ben Mee and Bryan Mbeumo left Redknapp and co-commentator Gary Neville almost lost for words.