- Erik ten Hag made seven changes to the side that lost 3-0 at home to Man City
- United were outplayed by a ruthless Newcastle outfit who ended their campaign
- Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport's podcast 'It's All Kicking Off!'
He isn’t the most animated of men, so when Erik ten Hag danced on the Wembley turf with Lisandro Martinez and Antony after beating Newcastle in the Carabao Cup final in February, you knew what it meant to him.
There hasn’t been much to celebrate at Manchester United since then, however, and certainly not at the start of a new season that has lurched back and forth into crisis.
Here at Old Trafford, Ten Hag reached his lowest point yet – and that’s saying something given that his team were schooled in the Manchester derby just three days earlier.
The Dutchman stood on the touchline with a permanent scowl as the Newcastle fans delighted in telling him that he was getting sacked in the morning.
At this rate, they might not be too far wide of the mark.
Erik ten Hag let loose when Man United beat Newcastle in last season's Carabao Cup final
The defending champions suffered a bruising defeat to the same opponents on Wednesday
Ten Hag insisted his team would show a reaction from their weekend derby defeat to Man City
How much longer can this go on? How far will United let this slide before deciding that it isn’t working out?
Not since October 1962 have United lost consecutive home games by three or more goals. Not since 1930 have they lost five of their first 10 home games. The stats make horrible reading.
Yes, this was only the Carabao Cup and, yes, both teams began the game weaker than they finished it.
But this was a patched-up Newcastle by anyone’s standards, while the seven players brought in by Ten Hag would have been in with a shout of playing at Fulham on Saturday if they had put in a performance last night. Sadly, they didn’t come close.
What did Gary Neville say at the weekend? Managers and players are getting eaten alive at United these days. It’s certainly feeling that way at the moment.
Marcus Rashford, last seen drowning his derby sorrows in Chinawhite, Bruno Fernandes and Rasmus Hojlund made way for Alejandro Garnacho, Mason Mount and the eternally frustrating Antony Martial, but United were abject again and it didn’t get any better when those three came off the bench with the score at 3-0.
Mason Mount (centre) was among the players who came in but continued his struggles since his big money summer transfer from Chelsea
Erik ten Hag turned to his bench with his side 3-0 down after making seven changes from the weekend
The rest were no better. United were pathetic: utterly devoid of ideas or inspiration. If there is any fight in this team, where was it? It was noted that they had more captains last night – Casemiro, Victor Lindelof and Fernandes – than shots on goal.
At the final whistle, there were barely enough United fans left in the stadium to make their boos heard above the din of the jubilant Toon Army.
As Ten Hag headed down the tunnel, he applauded the supporters and some of them even reciprocated.
But those dancing days feel very distant now. If there’s a way back from this, it won’t be easy.
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