IT felt like business as usual on Monday evening.
United stuttered and were very fortunate to beat Wolves 1-0 – but it was met with predictable uproar on social media.
They always have been and always will be, the big story – but some of the reaction on social media was erratic and not the view of many match-going Reds.
To be clear; the performance was sloppy, unimaginative and the holes were there for all to see.
Mason Mount still needs time to adapt to his surroundings, while behind him in the centre of the park, Casemiro badly needs some more support if United are to improve on last season.
You could raise questions about the tactics in other areas too, as the United faithful watched Wolves record 23 attempts on goal.
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But, in comparison to the start of Ten Hag’s first season in charge, United are three points better off. There was a clean sheet to be thankful for too (although Andre Onana was lucky not to concede a penalty), and overall, it was a solid showing from the former Inter Milan and Ajax goalkeeper.
This type of performance only becomes a problem if we see it a couple of more times in the opening 10 or so games and as it stands, it’s going in the "early season rustiness" drawer.
Not title challengers yet
I don’t think at this stage of Ten Hag’s United "project" that the team or squad are ready for a title challenge, and given what we know and have seen from Manchester City, they will still be a very hard outfit to stop.
But can United compete with Arsenal and pinch second place? It’s very possible and would represent good progress.
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Qualification for the Champions League will bring more games but also added pressure on a squad which at the time of writing, still looks a little light at the heart of defence and midfield.
Sofyan Amrabat’s arrival would ease the burden on Casemiro in midfield, but because of the number of games and standard of opposition across all competitions, United certainly need another in defence especially if Harry Maguire moves on in the latter stages of the window.
So, it’s difficult to predict what might happen this campaign, but being the optimistic fan that I am, a domestic cup win and quarter-final of the Champions League to place alongside the runners -up spot in the league, would reinforce the feeling that the Ten Hag revolution is well on track. We certainly aren’t in crisis mode as some social media supporters might have you believe.
As always, a couple more wins and the Wolves result will be a distant memory and with new signings still bedding in, [Lisandro] Martinez and Casemiro still finding full fitness, and Rashford reluctantly playing out of position, there’s still plenty to be excited about.
Come on United!
Follow Tom McDermott on Twitter @MrTomMcDermott
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