Manchester United were humiliated 3-0 at home by Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday, putting more pressure on manager Erik Ten Hag.
A win against Chelsea in midweek provided reason for optimism, but in-form Bournemouth demonstrated exactly how far Ten Hag’s United had fallen this season.
The Dutchman looked despondent as he stood in the pouring rain at Old Trafford, watching his shambolic side get completely outplayed and fortunate not to lose by more.
Bournemouth fans sang “You’re getting sacked in the morning,” while home fans booed loudly at the final whistle, despite the fact that many had long ago marched off.
United’s fourth home league defeat of the season hardly inspired much hope ahead of next week’s must-win game against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
“You’ve got to be at your best in every game, starting with focus. When you start like we did, you get killed,” Ten Hag said. “They are good opponents but we have to do better. I’ve got to take responsibility for it.
“I understand fans are disappointed, frustrated. We all are but we should do better and we have to show it every game, not to have so big levels from one game to another.”
To make matters even worse for United, captain Bruno Fernandes picked up a fifth booking of the season and will be suspended for next weekend’s trip to Liverpool.
For Bournemouth, who won with goals by Dominic Solanke, Philip Billing and Marcos Senesi, it was their first ever win at Old Trafford and a fourth victory in five league games.
After a difficult start to the season, the south coast team is currently prospering under Andoni Iraola’s high-pressing style, and relegation concerns are quickly dissipating.
Lewis Cook surged through a non-existent United defence and delivered the ball for Solanke to score neatly after five minutes.
Solanke was on the verge of making it 2-0 before halftime when Cook again passed him through, but his shot hit the post.
After bringing Rasmus Hojlund off the bench in place of Anthony Martial, United began to threaten an equaliser in the second half.
Hojlund and Antony both had shots stopped in short succession, while Diogo Dalot missed another opportunity to pass to Hojlund.
However, United were stunned by two goals in five minutes for Bournemouth, with Billing and Senesi scoring with thunderous headers from Marcus Tavernier passes, as United’s defenders went AWOL.
Bournemouth pressed for more goals and were denied a late fourth when Dango Ouattara rushed through and scored, but his attempt was ruled out for handball following a VAR review.
Bournemouth’s victory was unflattering, and the team has risen to the relative safety of 13th position.
For United, it’s one stride forward and two steps back as they undo the good work of Wednesday’s excellent win over Chelsea. They have already lost 11 of their 23 games this season in all competitions.