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Saturday, 23 August 2014

Deja vu for Devils

Argentine defender Marcos Rojo, who signed this week,will be a key addition to United’s backline.

Argentine defender Marcos Rojo, who signed this week,will be a key addition to United’s backline.

A confidence-smashing loss! Well said, Mr Van Gaal. The opening-day loss was a defeat that broke two records and Man Utd fans will be well aware of the many records that were broken under David Moyes last season, all so very painful to pen down.

Yes, those nasty annoying messages started to pour in before the game ended from friends, relatives and colleagues. Oh No! Not again!

Well, the reality was evident last Saturday. We need new quality players, Van Gaal’s new system will take time to work and our defence is a major concern. But what really got me worried and thinking was the subdued atmosphere around Old Trafford.

What has happened to the electric noise, the roar of the fans? In fact, the fear factor of teams coming to Old Trafford seems non-existent.

Credit must be given to a Swansea outfit, who got their tactics spot on. But where does that leave Man Utd?

Although Van Gaal is a very good manager, he is not a miracle worker. The 3-4-3 formation is, in my eyes, a risky one. Against the big teams, we will be punished, that’s for sure. But with the signing of Argentine defender Marcos Rojo from Sporting Lisbon last week and the potential scoop of Dutchman Danny Blind from Ajax, it will help ease fears of being exposed at the back.

Angel Di Maria is another player strongly linked to Man Utd. The Argentine will surely be a hit on all flanks and fit in with the manager’s new formation.

The visit to the Stadium of Light tomorrow to play Gus Poyet’s Sunderland will be a tricky test. The Black Cats came back from 2-1 down in their opening fixture against WBA to snatch a point and in Jack Rodwell, Connor Wickham and Stephen Fletcher they have a team with the potential to hurt Man Utd.

Nevertheless, we will and must respond quickly to the first opening-day home defeat since 1972. The only positives that fans can take back from the Swansea defeat is that it featured debutants Tyler Blackett, 20, and midfielder Jesse Lingard, 21. The youngsters showed a lot of promise and should be backed to come good.

Meanwhile, all the big boys registered opening wins, with Chelsea and Manchester City scoring impressive away wins. Diego Costa scored on his league debut and looks like a striker who can hurt defences in a Chelsea team that looks strong in every department.

Champions Man City looked confident themselves and should see off a Liverpool team who were rather fortunate to beat Southampton in Tuesday morning’s big game while Arsenal had to rely on a stoppage time winner against a gritty Crystal Palace team.

With Man Utd’s rivals all starting with wins, the pressure will be on Van Gaal to not start the season playing catch-up.

Red Devils fans must be a frustrated lot, as yours truly is. But I am optimistic.

The appointment of Van Gaal, no European football, a fit, refreshed Robin Van Persie and a new captain with a lot to prove in Wayne Rooney means United will get going and hopefully be in contention for the league title. Fingers crossed.

n Randeep Singh is extremely nervous about United’s visit to Sunderland tomorrow but has faith in Rooney and Co, and is sure that the Devils will not get beaten.

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