Brentford turn up the heat on woeful Manchester United in 4-0 humiliation

Manchester United is in crisis. There can be little doubt. Beyond the simple statistics of becoming the first United manager to lose his first two games since 1921 and presiding over the worst start to a Premier League season in 30 years, Erik’s reputation ten Hag is already torn. It will take an exceptional manager, a man of great moral courage, to recover from this.

Beads of sweat glistening on his bare head, the London evening sun beat down on the Dutchman as Brentford tore United apart, gleefully dismantling them in the first half. It was as bad as anything produced in the dogged era of David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, José Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjær, and far worse than any performance under Ralf Rangnick, the much-derided immediate predecessor.

But it was still a family story. The mistakes of previous seasons are leagues away from being righted and while fans may be running for clarity and fresh blood, two of Ten Hag’s additions in Lisandro Martínez and Christian Eriksen played a full part in the disaster

That United’s problems run even deeper was reflected in the continued protests against Glazer’s ownership at the end, even though the absentee Floridian billionaires were not on the pitch during the two awful performances that have started this Premier League season League. Nor did they choose a team that functioned as disinterested satellites of each other.

“I asked them to play with belief and take responsibility, that’s what they didn’t do,” Ten Hag said. “I have to give them credit, but they have to give it to themselves.” There seems to be little unity to go around, even if there is a lot of guilt. A thick Cristiano Ronaldo was only too happy to level, and he blanked both the Ten Hag and the visiting fans at full-time.

David de Gea after conceding the first goal.
David de Gea after conceding the first goal. Photograph: Mark Leech/Offside/Getty Images

At least there would be no repeat of the big man on the bench, as was seen last week against Brighton. Instead, Scott McTominay was the only player to be removed from a disappointing opening weekend that now resembles happy, optimistic times.

Alongside McTominay’s former partner in crime Fred, Eriksen played the deep, central midfield role from which he helped lead Brentford to safety last season, with notably less success. A vocal minority of home fans were in unforgiving mood over their choice of Manchester over west London, their booed first touches and stark reminders of the score.

Josh Dasilva’s goal had rescued a point at Leicester last Sunday and secured the go-ahead, Thomas Frank’s team selection paying off in a way Ten Hag can only dream of. You must also envy his energy and application. Brentford played their usual athletic game, pressing hard, making the most of set pieces, of which they were afforded plenty by United’s persistent fouling in utter desperation.

“We knew the high press would hit them,” said the excellent Ivan Toney. “It was clear to see that if you work hard, you get results.” Mathias Jensen, dominant in midfield, said: “It looked like we were on top of everything.”

“We looked at what Brighton did well against them,” Frank said. “We knew we had this weapon.”

Dasilva’s first goal came through a combination of aggression, submission and incompetence. Jensen easily robbed Ronaldo and De Gea made an uncharacteristic mistake. For all his usual brilliance, the Spaniard is prone to clangers. Having dribbled the ball over the line, he buried his head in the turf.

“I’m just taking my responsibility today,” said De Gea, accepting responsibility. “I think I have cost my team three points. It was a poor performance on my part.”

Bryan Mbeumo and Brentford celebrate their victory.
Bryan Mbeumo and Brentford celebrate their victory. Photograph: Mark Leech/Offside/Getty Images

De Gea was not alone in his ineptitude. Far. Harry Maguire was only saved from a red card when he brought down Toney because Martinez was at the scene of the crime. And as United struggled awkwardly to clear the ball from a goal kick, Eriksen was troubled by Martinez. Jensen stole second.

They played just 18 minutes and Ronaldo barked at his teammates as Brentford fans predicted Ten Hag would be “sacked in the morning”. Thirteen minutes later, Ben Mee stooped at the back post to score after Toney nodded in a corner. The next one was simpler still, Jensen robbing Jadon Sancho in the box, releasing Toney, who played in Bryan Mbeumo as Brentford cruised out of control.

Ten Hag’s half-time reaction, their attempt to lift the shock from the shell, was to remove the hapless Martinez and Luke Shaw, and replace McTominay with Fred. United looked a little more solid, if still fragile, their attack still hapless.

At least they enjoyed some territory. Ronaldo’s first chances came from Diogo Dalot’s crosses and he hit the turf in anger after heading both. He soon found himself falling deep as he tried to make something happen, anything, maybe rescue his own night with a goal.

Eriksen forced the first save of the game from Brentford goalkeeper David Raya with a weak header as the home side sat on their big lead, able to savor the occasion. Jensen, Mbeumo and Dasilva left the field to a well-deserved ovation on a famous day at Brentford, a first defeat for United since 1938 that will live long in the memory. The celebrations that followed were hectic and long.

For Ten Hag, and all those who hope that Manchester United can one day be revived, this will remain a feverish nightmare, a new but familiar low.

#Brentford #turn #heat #woeful #Manchester #United #humiliation

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.