Record English Premier League champions Manchester United were handed a 3-0 beating by Burnley in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Carrington on Wednesday afternoon.
This was United’s second friendly match against Premier League opposition this month. The Red Devils played Everton on August 15 and won 2-0 thanks to a Scott McTominay strike and an Everton own goal.
Erik ten Hag’s lads have played two matches into the new season. They have won one, controversially (1-0 against Wolves at Old Trafford) and lost the other 2-0 away to a Harry Kane-less Tottenham Hotspur.
Wednesday’s outing against Burnley was an opportunity for ten Hag to build his team’s fitness levels and gain momentum ahead of Saturday’s league fixture against Nottingham Forest.
The 53-year-old Dutch tactician found himself beaten by Vincent Kompany’s top-flight rookies and it is not yet clear whether the hosts achieved any of their goals.
Fringe players Jonny Evans, Hannibal Mejbri, Alvaro Fernandez, Scott McTominay, Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek, and Facundo Pellistri all started the match that now casts real doubt on United’s ability this season.
McTominay, van de Beek, Mejbri, Dan Gore, and former captain Harry Maguire featured in last week’s win against Everton and a similar result was expected going into Wednesday’s fixture.
This result comes on the backdrop of a murky divorce between United and academy graduate Mason Greenwood who was a dependable servant in the offensive department which is now a shell of United’s past.
United may have roped in top talent in Rasmus Hojlund, Mason Mount, and Andre Onana but have also lost David De Gea, Fred, and Anthony Elanga who all were dimmed surplus to the requirements at Old Trafford.
The summer transfer window closes on September 1, 2023. Maybe before then, they will sign one or two players who will get them ticking or ten Hag will find a way to squeeze results out of his squad before it is too late.
But as it stands, United look weak. It may not be entirely because of the playing talent, but the truth of the matter is that they are weak and easy to play against, at least according to their former no-nonsense captain Roy Keane.