Ten Hag faces huge task after United mauling, City march on in EPL

London: Manchester United’s new manager Erik ten Hag admitted he needs to sign quality players but after Saturday’s 4-0 humiliation at Brentford, persuading any to come to Old Trafford could be a tough task for the Dutchman.

Ten Hag has become the first United manager since John Chapman in 1921 to lose his first two games in charge and with Liverpool up next things may get worse before they get better.

The 52-year-old was taunted by Brentford’s fans with “you’re getting sacked in the morning” as his side shipped four goals in the opening 35 minutes.

While former Ajax manager Ten Hag will certainly be given time to revive the club’s fortunes, the way his side have started the season has left him looking dazed.

“It is my responsibility to give an explanation. It is clear the performance was really poor. When you make mistakes like this, you can’t win the game,” he said.

“The team has to take responsibility. I feel really sorry for the fans — they did everything to support us but we let them down.”

A shellshocked Lisandro Martinez and Cristiano Ronaldo react during Manchester United’s humiliation against Brentford.Credit:Getty

The way United capitulated under a Brentford onslaught was alarming, although nothing new.

They have now lost seven successive Premier League away games and Saturday was the sixth time they have conceded four or more away from home since the start of last season.

United’s last four games have been against Brighton twice, Crystal Palace and Brentford and they have lost all of them, scoring one goal and conceding 11.

The rot runs deep, and Ten Hag appears to need big-money signings to turn the tide, although no quick fix seems likely and many fans insist a change of ownership is the only way for England’s most successful club to revive former glories.

Ben Mee celebrates Brentford’s third goal in the 4-0 win over Manchester United.Credit:Getty

“I hoped for a better start, but still I have to believe because I have seen good things but the two games from now are disappointing. It is about taking responsibility on the pitch, you cannot make such mistakes at our level,” Ten Hag said.

“It is clear we need players but I don’t want to think about that in this moment. The good players we had should have been better. We will analyse and we will move forward but one thing is quite clear, we have to do things better.

“This team is good enough to beat Brighton and Brentford which we didn’t do so we have to question ourselves.”

United’s transfer activity had been underwhelming. They spent about £50 million pounds ($85m) on Ajax central defender Lisandro Martinez but he was substituted at half-time on Saturday after a torrid time against an inspired Brentford.

There were no such dramas for the blue half of Manchester, with City cruising to a 4-0 win over Bournemouth.Credit:Getty

Christian Eriksen, who joined on a free transfer from Brentford, was culpable for the second goal.

Brentford, whose starting line-up cost in the region of £55 million pounds, were simply too tenacious and organised for United’s whose combined price tag was upwards of seven times that.

“It felt like we were on top of everything. They couldn’t cope with our pressure, our second balls, our intensity. You could see they were struggling,” Brentford midfielder Mathias Jensen told Sky Sports.

Rubbing salt into the wound, meanwhile, champions Manchester City raised the bar even higher when they crushed promoted Bournemouth 4-0 to maintain their fast start.

Gabriel Jesus continued his flying to start to life at Arsenal with a double against Leicester.Credit:Getty

Arsenal joined Pep Guardiola’s side on six points as former City striker Gabriel Jesus struck twice in a 4-2 win over Leicester City.

Leeds United looked on course for a second successive win but squandered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Southampton, one of three draws on a sultry Saturday afternoon. Brighton and Newcastle played out a scoreless stalemate, as did Wolves and Fulham. Aston Villa beat Everton 2-1 in the early kick-off.

City, bidding for a fifth Premier League title in six seasons, cruised to an opening win at West Ham United last week and were equally dominant against Bournemouth.

They wasted no time getting into their stride in the sunshine as Norway striker Erling Haaland marked his home debut with an assist for Ilkay Gundogan’s opener after 19 minutes.

City cut loose and scored a sumptuous second goal 12 minutes later when Kevin De Bruyne curled a fine strike into the net with the outside of his foot.

Phil Foden added another before half-time from De Bruyne’s assist and it was just a matter of how many more the hosts would help themselves to. In the end they managed only one more courtesy of Jefferson Lerma’s own goal but they spent most of the second half on cruise control.

Reuters

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