THE greeting for Erik ten Hag was loud as he emerged from the Old Trafford Tunnel.
When he retired nearly two hours later, there was a smattering of sympathetic applause.
Possibly it was thanks for being willing to take on the task at all.
The manager had changed but nothing else.
It was the same old bland Manchester United.
For many fans, this version of the team is their worst in living memory.
Nothing on Sunday afternoon indicated that things would get any better.
The team, the club, the coach urgently needed a confidence-inspiring start.
You have achieved exactly the opposite.
From the moment Bruno Fernandes drove an early chance over the bar, the players looked nervous and disconnected. Not even able to get the basics right.
They try to play the ball wide from behind but they can’t, they treat that ball like a grenade with a flag out.
You are prompted to press but don’t.
In the middle of the park, Paul Scholes summed it up best when he lost it on Instagram.
Scholes said: “It’s all about body shape, when you take the ball, look at your own goal too often and can only play one way…
“Get the fuck on the ‘half round’ and bring your more talented players into the game… Have a great week everyone.”
His pal Gary Neville came out with his usual diatribe about the Glazers.
One of them, Avram, was actually there on Sunday to witness this shocker and saw a banner and heard chants directed in his direction.
The regular pre-game protest, which ended in the Munich tunnel, had already taken place.
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Summer recruitment is once again in the spotlight. We saw all three new players on Sunday.
We are told he will make up for what centre-back Lisandro Martinez lacks in height in the fight.
Not much good when Danny Welbeck rises two feet above you to plant a header in goal like he did early in the second half.
Tyrell Malacia came on for Luke Shaw in the second half and his first contribution was to clumsily concede a free-kick.
Christian Eriksen was asked to play in a false nine role and it just didn’t work out.
How does a club the size of Manchester United start a season without a top-class centre-forward in the team?
When the wanton Cristiano Ronaldo emerged, his contribution was minimal.
“NOBODY WANTED THE BALL”
You had to double-check the squad sheet to know Jadon Sancho was playing, Marcus Rashford completely lost it in front of goal as proved when set up by Ronaldo.
As the evidence for the prosecution mounted throughout the game, fan frustration grew, which in turn made players even more nervous about making mistakes.
In the end nobody wanted the ball.
They’re better off playing away because a stadium that used to scare opponents is now doing the same to its own players.
The club will continue to pursue Frenkie de Jong but he’s clearly not that keen.
This club is harder to sell today than ever.
The names thrown around to solve the striker crisis have hardly inspired the fan base.
Hopes remain that Anthony Martial, who is out on Sunday with a hamstring injury, can regain the best form he showed in Bangkok and Australia last preseason.
That was pre-season, the Premier League is the real thing and at the moment United just aren’t up to it.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/5953156/man-utd-glazers-ten-hag-signings-same-old/ From the Glazers to Ten Hag and the signings, it’s still the same old Man Utd and they just aren’t up to the task