In an astonishing first half in some intense west London heat, Manchester United put in one of their worst performances in 30 years of playing in the Premier League – with Ten Hag’s mistake-laden side doing their new manager no favours.

Goalkeeper David de Gea let Josh Dasilva’s simple shot crawl under his body at the near post after 10 minutes before the goalkeeper’s pass put former Brentford player Christian Eriksen in trouble, with Mathias Jensen gaining possession in the penalty area for a simple finish (18).

The Bees managed to double that advantage before half-time, with Ben Mee leaping over Lisandro Martinez to head home on his home debut (30) before Ivan Toney fed Bryan Mbuemo to finish off a blistering counter-attack for their fourth after just 35 minutes.

Cristiano Ronaldo – recalled to the starting line-up – wasted three chances in a result that leaves Ten Hag’s side bottom of the Premier League with zero points, with Liverpool their next opponents at Old Trafford in nine days’ time on Monday Night Football.

Player ratings

Brentford: Raya 7; Roerslev 7, Jansson 7, Mee 8; Hickey 7 (sub Sorensen 79 n/a), Norgaard 7 (Onyeka 79 n/a), Jensen 8, Dasilva (Janelt 62 6) 7, Henry 7; Mbuemo 9 (Wissa 73, 6), Toney 9

Subs not used: Strakhosa, Ghoddos, Lewis-Potter, Damsgaard

Man United: De Gea 3; Dalot 5, Maguire 4, Martinez (Varane h/t) 3, Shaw (Malacia h/t) 4; Fred 3 (McTominay h/t), Fernandes 3, Eriksen 3 (Van de Beek 88 n/a); Sancho 4 (Elanga 60), Ronaldo 5, Rashford 4

Subs not used: Heaton, Wan-Bissaka, Garner, Garnacho

When asked about his triple substitution at half-time, which saw him take off defenders Lisandro Martinez and Luke Shaw alongside Fred, Ten Hag said: “I changed three, but I could have changed them all. We wanted to bring some fresh energy in the game, there was nothing specific to the ones we subbed because I don’t think it’s all to them.”

It’s naive, how we played today, you have to play more direct. We said: invite them in [to press] and play long. We attracted them, the space was high on the pitch and we had to choose that option. That’s what we couldn’t do. It’s no good, definitely. That’s not the standard on how we want to act.

“You can have a plan, but we put the plan in the bin. It’s nothing to do with tactical – the first two goals. It’s about dealing with the ball. That’s one. And two, decisions.

“They followed my instructions but they made bad decisions. That’s football, it’s a game of mistakes and we got punished.”


How Man Utd shot themselves in the foot


United’s problems from back to front were laid bare right from the first whistle. In goal, De Gea was left red-faced – and that was not to do with the intense 32-degree heat that hit west London come kick-off.

Dasilva shaped to shoot with his weaker right foot but De Gea couldn’t get his body arranged to block the tame effort. Eight minutes later, Ten Hag’s defence and midfield tried to entice Brentford by playing out from the back – but couldn’t produce the quality to stop those who swarmed to get them.

Eriksen was foiled by his former midfield team-mate Jensen in the penalty area, with Brentford’s No 8 setting himself before rolling the ball past a wrong-footed De Gea.

To complete the set in the first half, United’s attack produced very little to test David Raya, even with the recalled Ronaldo starting up front. The 37-year-old produced a couple of snapshots which Raya both held and let fly harmlessly over his bar.

Another astonishing five-minute period put the game well and truly beyond United after just 35 minutes. Debutant Mee showed more tenacity than Martinez at the back post to nod in an efficient Brentford corner.

Then, as United tried to claim some sort of route back in the game, Brentford hit them on the break. Toney raced away to find Mbuemo in the middle, who hurdled a late challenge from Luke Shaw from behind to steer the ball past De Gea.

Ten Hag appeared to show his disapproval at half-time with a triple substitution. Tyrell Malacia, Scott McTominay and Raphael Varane replaced Martinez, Shaw and Fred – and there were some minor improvements after the break.

Ronaldo had two excellent chances to pull a goal back as Dalot found him twice in a lot of penalty area space – but headed wide, then over.

Eriksen himself twice went close as he headed straight at Raya before pulling a shot wide from inside the box. But Brentford managed to keep United at arm’s length – and didn’t need to get out of second gear after half-time.

Criticising Manchester United has become a weekly occurrence. There is no denying they have been bad for a while, but just when it seemed it could not get any worse, along came Brentford.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was apparently the problem. Then it was Ralf Rangnick. Now Erik ten Hag is under the spotlight. The Dutchman, who is undoubtedly an excellent coach given his success with Ajax, faces an almost impossible task in Manchester. His players simply aren’t good enough. He needs more signings, but there’s no guarantee he’ll get them.

Saturday’s 4-0 drubbing in west London flattered United. Brentford may have only had four shots on target in the first half – all of which went in – but it could have easily been double figures. The hosts out-worked, out-muscled and out-classed their opponents.

The stats could not be any more damning, either. The result means United have lost four consecutive league matches for the first time since February 1979. They have also lost seven consecutive away league games for the first time since losing 10 on the bounce between September and December 1936.

There have been embarrassing defeats before – Brighton away last season springs to mind – but this one at Brentford felt the worst of the lot.

Despite the scoreline and performance, though, United supporters are confident Ten Hag is the man to turn their side’s fortunes around.


Phryde News brings you the latest news on sports, entertainment, technology, health, education, politics, the latest football transfers, and more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button

You cannot copy content of this page.Please share instead

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker