Manchester United's nightmare start to the 2014-15 season continued on Tuesday, as the team suffered an embarrassing 4-0 loss at the hands of League One side MK Dons in the Capital One Cup.
William Grigg and Benik Afobe each scored twice to give the club from Linton Keynes arguably their greatest win in team history against an uninspired Red Devils unit.
United fielded a bunch of youngsters and part-time players, but regardless, the resulting play on the pitch was close to unacceptable. Jonny Evans took the brunt of the blame on social media, and rightfully so, as the veteran Northern Irishman put in a dreadful performance.
He gave the ball away in a poor position to gift the hosts the opening goal and struggled with his positioning all night.
Javier Hernandez also contributed little to the side, and the Mexican looks like a likely candidate to leave Old Trafford before the end of the summer transfer window.
Manchester Evening News' Rob Dawson summed up the team's performance in 140 characters or less:
Manager Louis van Gaal was widely criticised for his tactics on social media, with some fans giving him a pass due to a lack of effort from his veteran players. The Dutch manager didn't see things that way, however, per The Associated Press' Rob Harris:
He also saw his team create a lot of chances:
As shared by the club's Twitter feed, he asked the fans to be patient:
On the goals his squad conceded, he acknowledged his players simply made too many glaring errors:
The 3-5-2 system he has tried to incorporate has proved ineffective so far, with the players having limited time to adapt. Van Gaal claimed he could change his formation following the arrival of Angel Di Maria (as reported by the club's official website), per Man Utd Update:
While reporters kept pressing for quotes on individual performances, Van Gaal refused to go into the subject. Bleacher Report's Rob Blanchette liked that approach:
While it's too soon to speak of a crisis at Old Trafford (it was only the Capital One Cup, after all), all of the positive energy surrounding the club following the arrival of Di Maria seemed to have vanished after 90 poor minutes against MK Dons.
The Dutch manager still has a lot of work to do before the Red Devils can start righting the ship, starting with settling on a formation that will prove successful given the players that are available.
The last days of the 2014 summer transfer window will likely prove vital, as the current squad simply isn't up to the task of running Van Gaal's 3-5-2 system the way he envisions it.