Ten Hag, Manchester United’s problems pile up after dismal loss to brilliant Brentford

Ten Hag, Manchester United's problems pile up after dismal loss to brilliant Brentford
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LONDON — After a 2-1 loss to Brighton in their opener, Manchester United lost 4-0 away to Brentford, conceding all four in the first half of the match. Brentford played well and United’s defensive errors, coupled with a lack of attacking conviction, gave the Bees their first victory against the Red Devils in the Premier League.

– Report: Brentford 4-0 Manchester United | Premier League table | Upcoming meetings

ESPN’s Rob Dawson has the reaction to a disappointing result for Ten Hag’s United.

JUMP TO: Player Ratings | Better/worse performers | Highlights & Moments | Postgame Quotes | Key Statistics | Upcoming meetings

Quick reaction

Things go from bad to worse for Erik ten Hag

If the new Manchester United manager thought it was bad against Brighton last weekend, it was even worse. Much worse. Brentford led 4-0 with just half an hour on the clock, then spent the rest of the game playing with Ten Hag’s side. Embarrassment is an understatement.

Ten Hag, appointed this summer from Ajax, is the first United manager to lose their first two competitive games since John Chapman in 1921, while United have now lost their last seven away matches – their worst race since 1936. It is also four defeats in the league. in a row – dating back to last season – for the first time since 1979. Ten Hag – who handed Cristiano Ronaldo his first start of the season – responded to the dismal first-half performance by replacing Luke Shaw, Lisandro Martinez and Fred at half-time, but very few United players deserved to stay after the first 45 minutes.

He desperately needs new players before the transfer deadline but, perhaps more importantly, he needs to see those he inherited fight. After two games, two defeats and a goal difference of minus five, United are bottom of the Premier League table and it won’t get any easier for Ten Hag. His next match is against Liverpool at Old Trafford on August 22.

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David De Gea under pressure

David De Gea has been Man United’s No.1 goalkeeper for over a decade, but there’s a strong case for him being dropped for Liverpool’s visit to Old Trafford. He was caught on his line when Aston Villa scored a last-minute equalizer in a Perth friendly and his season only went downhill from there. Ten Hag wants his side to play goalkeeper and De Gea’s passing was shaky in the loss to Brighton.

Against Brentford, however, it was even more damaging. He had already let Josh Dasilva’s tame shot squirm under his body to hand Brentford the opening goal when he tried to pass out Christian Eriksen. The pass wasn’t there, Eriksen was stolen by Mathias Jensen, who put Brentford 2-0 up in the first 20 minutes.

With Dean Henderson sent on loan to Nottingham Forest, 36-year-old Tom Heaton – who made just one appearance last season – is the current No.2 and would likely come against Liverpool if Ten Hag decides to make a switch . United are looking to add another goalkeeper before the transfer deadline and those efforts will intensify after De Gea’s latest disaster.

Brentford gets revenge

Thomas Frank was furious after Man United’s visit to Brentford in January when Ralf Rangnick’s side managed to withstand a first-half defeat to eventually win 3-1. Brentford were so good that night they should have been out of sight at half-time but ultimately paid the price for a series of missed chances. They didn’t make the same mistake again.

Brentford targeted Martinez with long passes to Ivan Toney, pressured the ball all over the pitch and played on United’s inability to play from behind to take a 4-0 lead inside 35 minutes. They needed just 30 per cent possession to do so and converted four of their seven shots on target in a clinical display that brutally exposed the fragility of a United side that appear to lack technical ability and self-confidence.

Brentford didn’t deserve to lose to United here last season but they more than made up for it this time with a dominating performance to secure a first win in the new season. The headlines will be United, but Frank and his team deserve credit for a well-executed game plan that humbled Ten Hag and his players.

Player ratings

Brentford: David Raya 7, Aaron Hickey 7, Rico Henry 7, Mads Roerslev 7, Pontus Jansson 7, Ben Mee 8, Christian Norgaard 7, Mathias Jensen 8, Bryan Mbeumo 7, Josh Dasilva 8, Ivan Toney 8.
Subtitles: Vitaly Janelt 6, Shandon Baptiste 6, Yoane Wissa 6, Frank Onyeka 6, Mads Bech Sorensen 6.

Manchester United : David de Gea 3, Diogo Dalot 4, Luke Shaw 3, Harry Maguire 3, Lisandro Martinez 4, Fred 4, Christian Eriksen 5, Bruno Fernandes 4, Jadon Sancho 4, Marcus Rashford 4, Cristiano Ronaldo 5.
Subtitles: Tyrell Malacia 5, Raphaël Varane 5, Scott McTominay 5, Anthony Elanga 5, Van de Beek 5.

Best and Worst Performers

BEST: Mathias Jensen, Brentford

There were many noteworthy Brentford performances but Jensen, who provided a goal and an assist, epitomized Frank’s work rate, combat and team quality.

WORSE: David De Gea, Manchester United

He made two glaring errors to give Brentford the opening two goals, but the whole United squad should be embarrassed after such a pathetic display.

Highlights and Moments

Man United’s start to the Premier League season goes from bad to worse as they are bottom of the table and next face Liverpool.

Erik ten Hag is just two games away from managing Manchester United and faces an uphill battle to deliver results.

After the game: What managers, players said

“I think I cost my team three points today to be honest. It was a bad performance on my part. Of course after the first mistake and the second it was very difficult for the team to play. It was a horrible day.” – David De Gea, Manchester United goalkeeper

“I replaced three but I could have changed them all.” – Erik ten Hag wants to replace his entire team at half-time

“We will learn, we will have to learn, it’s not good enough and it’s not the level and the standard of how we want to act.” – Ten Hag

Key stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information)

  • It is only the third time Man United have lost by four half-time goals in Premier League history, the last time being a 5-0 loss to Liverpool in the 2021-22 season and a defeat 6-1 against Tottenham in 2020. -21.


Brentford: They travel alongside newly promoted side Fulham on August 20 before facing League Two side Colchester United on August 23 in the Carabao Cup second round, followed by a home game against Frank Lampard’s Everton on August 27 in the Premier League.

Manchester United : Erik ten Hag’s side host last year’s Premier League runners-up Liverpool on August 22, followed by visits to Southampton on August 27 and Leicester City on September 1.


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