LONDON, Aug 14 — 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.” 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 & Hove Albion 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.
“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 around £50 million ($60.7 million) on Ajax central defender Lisandro Martinez but he was substituted at halftime on Saturday after a torrid time against an inspired Brentford.
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, were simply too tenacious and organised for United’s whose combined price tag was upwards of £400 million.
“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. — Reuters