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Man United are running out of excuses after poor Palace loss

MANCHESTER, England — Several teams have beaten Manchester United this season, and it’s easy to see why. Tottenham are reborn under Ange Postkoglu, Arsenal are genuine title challengers and Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton and Hove Albion are Premier League leaders One of the best-coached teams in the league, and Bayern Munich are serious contenders for the Champions League. However, Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Crystal Palace was almost inexplicable.

Of all the setbacks Erik ten Hag’s side have suffered this season, this is the biggest red flag. They have no excuses now.

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Crystal Palace came to Old Trafford having won just three of their previous 14 Premier League away games but still found a way to hand United their fifth defeat of the season and the most in the league The fourth loss. The defeat marked United’s worst start to a league season in 34 years and any hope of building on the positive performance in Hague’s first year as manager seemed to have been dashed.

As time expired, substitute Harry Maguire curled an aimless pass through the legs of Alejandro Garnacho and converted a throw-in at Palace – a sign of United’s lack of any A succinct bow for expression of structure or cohesion. When the final whistle sounded in the away side’s 1-0 win and 76-year-old manager Roy Hodgson jogged onto the pitch in the Manchester rain to congratulate his players, boos rang out around Old Trafford.

“I understand,” Ten Witches said when asked for a reaction. “When we play Crystal Palace at home or away we have to win. With all due respect I know every game in the Premier League is very difficult and you have to play your best and I understand the fans were expecting a win and we didn’t win , we lost.”

This was supposed to be the moment that United’s season began to turn around. Back-to-back wins over Burnley and Crystal Palace (Tuesday’s Carabao Cup) are the perfect start to a series that includes seven home games before November 1, but Old Trafford is no longer the fortress it was last season. Brighton suffered their first home league defeat in more than a year with a 3-1 win, but Crystal Palace repeated the same mistake just two weeks later and fans who came here to watch Galatasaray on Tuesday will be in for a treat. anxiety. Four days later, they face Brentford in the Premier League.

“We’ve now lost two games in a row in the Premier League (at home) and we have to do better and that’s exactly what happened,” Ten Hag said. “We have to show with our body language that Old Trafford is a fortress, you get nothing here and the only way out is failure.

“I guess I can’t blame the players and say they didn’t run. They gave everything but at the end, in both boxes, we didn’t do a good job.”

What worries the Ten Witches is that nothing seems to be going well. United didn’t score many goals last season but seemed to make up for it by keeping clean sheets. They have managed just three wins from nine games in all competitions so far this season, while problems remain at the other end.

Marcus Rashford, who scored 30 goals last season, has scored just once this season, the same number as his £72m summer signing Rasmus Hoylund. Rashford was substituted and United were still desperately searching for an equalizer, overshadowed by the performance of 19-year-old Garnacho, who came on as a substitute after an hour.

“I think (Rashford) can do better and I’m sure it will come,” added Ten Hag. “He works hard and that’s what he’s doing. He will score goals and the goals will come, but it won’t be automatic. The team has to invest a lot around him. The decision-making today was not good enough.”

Ten Hague still are without key defenders Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, with the Dutchman likely to miss out after referee Chris Kavanagh failed to spot him in the second half against Crystal Palace Joel Ward was aggrieved for handball, but more than just passing mentions only served to paper over the cracks United have had all season.

We’ve been here before. In recent history, former managers Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have both suffered disastrous starts, been unable to arrest the decline, and paid the price with their jobs. Ten Witches faces a similar problem, having to get his players into rhythm as quickly as possible or – inevitably – he’ll be in trouble.

To his delight, after the boos subsided, he was applauded in the tunnel by the Stretford Stand fans who stayed until the end of the game. The Ten Witches still retain the support of a majority of supporters and club owners as they try to break the cycle of sacking managers when the going gets tough. But results won’t go down forever, and the days of making excuses are over.

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