Manchester United‘s season got off to the worst possible start as they slumped to a 1-2 defeat to Brighton at Old Trafford.
The highly-anticipated Premier League debut of ‘Ten Hag Ball’ ultimately fell rather flat as the old ghosts of last season returned to haunt the Red Devils.
They looked well off the pace, struggling to connect with each other as Brighton capitalised to earn their first ever Premier League win at the Theatre of Dreams.
Ten Hag cut a frightfully concerned figure on the sideline as he watched his new side lurch agriculturally towards their first loss of the season.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who was left languishing on the bench, could do little to arrest the slide when introduced early in the second-half leaving United fans with that same old sinking feeling that they had become so accustomed to.
However, many believe that United had already lost the psychological edge even before they kicked a ball with Harry Maguire forgetting which side of the tunnel to lead the team out from.
The footage, which has been doing the rounds on Twitter, shows David De Gea pointing out to Maguire that they were on the wrong side before the Englishman quickly asked Brighton to switch.
For a man who is already struggling to keep the fan base on his side, it was not the best look.
Unsurprisingly, United fans, who have long memories, are harking back to the days when a certain Roy Keane was captain.
The hard-as-nails Irishman was a natural born leader who relished the role of captaincy, giving absolutely everything he had every time he pulled on the armband.
Now, fans are comparing the moment he lead his side out against Wolves at Molineux in 2004 to Maguire’s gaff at the weekend.
Keane had clearly become fed up of waiting and so, without a second look, he simply brushed past the officials asking him to stop and led his team onto the pitch ahead of schedule.
You can see the incident in the clip below:
The fact they all followed him without a moment’s hesitation shows true leadership – That crank Maguire would be out there on his own. We need a man like this now more than ever, pure pride and intensity. pic.twitter.com/VdpAYaz8e2— Gaz (@CantonaManc) August 8, 2022
It was the way in which they followed him without a moment’s hesitation that truly highlights just how respected a leader he was.
Naturally, fans are yearning for the sorts of days when United were feared and Old Trafford was one of Europe’s great fortresses.
Ten Hag has the potential to bring those days back, but he will need time and support to get it there.