Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville has slammed his old clubs “unacceptable” effort to sign new players, after they sunk to a 113-year-old on Sunday night.
After a sixth-place finish in the Premier League last season, the Red Devils failed to make their mark in the summer transfer market.
United have signed just three players under new manager Erik ten Hag, including 30-year-old Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen.
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Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard are among the list of players who have left Old Trafford during the English summer, while Cristiano Ronaldo is heavily rumored to follow suit.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was benched for United’s season opener against Brighton on Monday morning (AEST), and has reportedly requested a transfer away from Old Trafford.
Manchester United are now rumored to be chasing the services of former West Ham and Stoke striker Marko Arnautovic, who played under ten Hag at Dutch club Twente 13 years ago.
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However, Untied have reportedly had their bid for the 33-year-old rejected by Bologna.
After a quiet transfer window, Neville has called United the “easiest team to play” in the Premier League after their history making loss to Brighton.
“Anyone who has watched those Manchester United players he has been handed will recognize that is a familiar performance and the people above him should have known that it was an unacceptable situation to hand Erik ten Hag that squad,” Neville told Sky Sports.
“It needed improving more than it has been. There is still time in the window but he needed three or four weeks more to work with them.
“Every coach comes in thinking they can do better than the last coach with the players at his disposal as they believe they are a better coach and that is probably the case with this. But the reality is, he’s seen what those players are capable of today.
“I don’t think any Manchester United fan or pundit that has watched this team over the last 12 months, with the same players playing in the same positions, expected anything different than what we saw.
“The reality is those players need replacing or supported more by better players.”
It was a forgettable season opener for the Red Devils who hadn’t lost to Brighton at home in a competitive match, dating back to the FA Cup in 1909.
The first-ever meeting between the two clubs was a 1-0 win to United at Manchester’s Bank Street on January 16 of that year.
While a new season brings optimism and excitement, but frustration began to mount from the opening whistle for United fans after the hosts came frightening close to conceding inside 30 seconds.
But after missing chances of their own throughout the first half, the Red Devils went behind 2-0 after two quick goals to Pascal Gross.
While an own goal from midfielder Alexis Mac Allister gave the hosts a glimmer of hope with 20 minutes to play, it just wasn’t to be.
Premier League icon Paul Scholes took aim at United after a “shocking” first-half set his old club up for defeat.
United may have controlled the match with 62.9 per cent of possession, but only managed two more shots on target than their English rivals.
Scholes believes the Red Devils need to improve their midfield as he called out two underperforming players.
“(Scott) McTominay was always trying to run with the ball, ridiculous. The quality in the middle of the pitch was really poor,” Scholes said.
“The quality in the middle of the pitch was nowhere near good enough but we’ve seen that for the last few years with these two players.
“With Fred and McTominay, he (ten Tag) is going to have to go with just one of them but eve none of them is probably too many.
“Fred gives the ball away all the time and McTominay’s trying to run with the ball constantly and then gives it away. Pass it to your best players! It’s not that difficult. It’s criminal on a day like today.”
Two United fans reached their boiling points during the match, as they began to fight in the South Stand at Old Trafford.
Nearby fans watched on in shock as the pair began to wrestle with each other, with one of the men appearing to grab the other by the throat.
Another person seemed to step between the two men in an attempt to break up their row, as more supported turn to face the pair instead of the match.
A third Manchester United legend, Roy Keane, has also been critical in saying the “DNA” of the club wasn’t there anymore.
“You talk about pre-season, I saw a lot of PR nonsense coming out of Manchester United during the games and I still saw the same problems,” Roy Keane told Sky Sports.
“It’s the same characters, same personalities, especially in midfield.
“There are elements of talent in the squad but when they have setback they don’t deal with it. I go back to the DNA of the club and culture at the training ground, it’s not there. I don’t see personalities, I don’t see characters.
“It’s not all about throwing money at it but if these players aren’t up to it and good enough for Manchester United.”
Meanwhile, cross-town rivals Manchester City got their title defense off to a dream start with a 2-0 win over West Ham.
Star recruit Erling Haaland scored two goals on his Premier League debut for the Citizens.