Manchester United 4-0 EPL loss v Brentford: Erik ten Hag’s disaster

Erik ten Hag’s poor start as Manchester United manager was embarrassed with a 4-0 win over Brentford in the Premier League.

Erik ten Hag’s poor start as Manchester United manager was embarrassed as Brentford edged out the Red Devils’ closing point in the Premier League 4-0 on Saturday.

The former Ajax manager’s tenure began with Brighton’s maiden win at Old Trafford last weekend but things were to get much worse as the Bees punished a series of errors and scored four goals in the opening 35 minutes.

Josh Dasilva’s strike slipped from David de Gea’s grasp to open the floodgates before Mathias Jensen pounced on United’s attempt to play out from behind to make it 2-0 within 18 minutes.

Ben Mee then exposed the visitors’ frailty from set pieces for his first Brentford goal and Bryan Mbuemo completed a stunning counterattack 10 minutes from half-time to push United bottom for the first time in 30 years.

The jubilant home support taunted Ten Hag with chants such as “You’ll be released in the morning”. But the Netherlands manager has inherited a rabble rather than being the main cause as United lost a seventh consecutive away game in the league for the first time since 1936.

“We all saw the game. I think Brentford were hungrier and we conceded goals because of individual mistakes,” said Ten Hag. “You can have a good plan, but that throws the plan in the bin.”

United have conceded four or more goals seven times in the Premier League since the start of last season.

The arrival of £57m Ajax centre-back Lisandro Martinez has done little to bolster United’s leaky defence, and questions are being raised as to why Ten Hag left Raphael Varane on the bench in favor of the Argentine and the extraordinary Harry Maguire.

Ten Hag did include Cristiano Ronaldo in the starting XI, but the wanton five-time Ballon d’Or winner played a role in the opening goal.

Ronaldo went down too easily looking for a foul as he was surrounded by Brentford bodies. Dasilva’s shot should still have been an easy save for De Gea, but the ball squirmed under the Spaniard.

“It was a terrible day,” De Gea said. “I feel like I cost the team.”

De Gea compounded that error eight minutes later with an attempted pass to Christian Eriksen, passed by former teammate Jensen, and the Dane scored coolly home to double Brentford’s lead.

Martinez’s diminutive 1.8m (5ft 9in) build has been raised as a red flag for his ability to adapt to Premier League physicality.

And the Argentine was beaten at the back post by Mee for the third goal after Ivan Toney headed a corner over the goal.

Brentford’s recognition in just their second season in the English top flight in 75 years could be swept away by the waves of criticism United have to face.

But Thomas Frank’s men put on a stunning move to tear United open again for their fourth goal.

Toney was released on the left wing and first selected Mbuemo with a precision pass for the Frenchman to snap behind Luke Shaw and get past De Gea.

“These players give me and the fans a lifetime of memories,” said Frank.

Ten Hag made his feelings clear at the break with a triple substitution with scapegoats Shaw, Martinez and Fred.

United at least stopped the bleeding after the break and should have had at least one consolation as Ronaldo bowled over a header before Eriksen’s attempt failed to have the power to smack David Raya.

However, the damage to Ten Hag was already done and worse could be yet to come.

United hosts Liverpool, who defeated their historic rivals 5-0, 4-0 last season, will have their next game on August 22. Manchester United 4-0 EPL loss v Brentford: Erik ten Hag’s disaster

Nate Jones

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