Manchester United embarked on a pre-season trip full of hope for a successful 2023/24 season. After a very difficult month in which much went wrong, all of the optimism is slowly eroding.
Here are the 12 worst setbacks suffered by Manchester United this season, sorted from 11 to 1.
12) Amad gets injured
Amad was injured 10 minutes into the preseason tour’s opening game. Last season, the teenager scored 14 goals on loan, and there were great hopes that he may make an impact for United’s first squad this season. Instead, he will miss the majority of 2023.
11) Mason Mount injured
Another fitness blow for United, new addition Mason Mount has been injured, continuing the club’s dismal luck. According to The Telegraph, he could be out until October because his condition is worse than expected. Mount had struggled to integrate into Ten Hag’s new system, thus his absence is concerning.
10) Pre-season schedule has backfired
Manchester United’s intense eight-match pre-season schedule appears to have backfired on the team. The club played eight matches in five countries, including a cross-country trip across America. It was too much for the players, both mentally and physically, as evidenced by the team’s early games, where they appeared to be off their game.
9) Andre Onana may be heading to the AFCON
It has been revealed that a new signing has occurred. Andre Onana’s relationship with Cameroon may be improving, and he could feature in their upcoming AFCON qualifier. This could result in Onana attending the competition in January, missing four to six weeks of important Premier League and FA Cup games.
8) Luke Shaw the latest to suffer an injury
At this point, it appears to be more than a joke. First-team left-back What is going on at Manchester United now that Luke Shaw is out for several weeks with an injury? Add Shaw’s injury to Tyrell Malacia’s injury, and United have a serious problem at left-back. This may redirect scarce transfer money that are required elsewhere.
7) Harry Maguire is staying
As things stand, Harry Maguire will remain at Manchester United. The team agreed to pay a price for the former captain to join West Ham, but the transaction fell through. West Ham has since recruited another defender. United are saddled with a centre-back Erik ten Hag dislikes and are unable to buy a replacement he prefers.
6) Ten Hag’s new tactics don’t work
So far, Manchester United’s performance on the field has not been encouraging. Erik ten Hag’s revamped midfield has been a major contributor to this. Mason Mount, Bruno Fernandes, and Casemiro lack balance and control, causing United to be swamped defensively. United won one game that they could have easily lost and lost the other. Prior to Mount’s injury, the management was going to have to reconsider, but the quandary will remain when he returns.
5) The Mason Greenwood charade
Manchester United handled the Mason Greenwood incident inexcusably. Before facts were disclosed, the club sought to bring him back, which sparked a violent backlash. United has now said that he will not play for the club again, criticizing the backlash. Despite having months to prepare, the club managed to get it horribly wrong. This eclipsed everything United-related last week, causing the club to make front-page headlines for all the wrong reasons.
4) Kobbie Mainoo injury
Before suffering an injury against Real Madrid, Kobbie Mainoo was the bright spot of Manchester United’s pre-season. The teenager was being groomed for a vital midfield role. Erik ten Hag says that when he returns, Mainoo will be given an opportunity, but the setback has been frustrating. With the midfield currently uneven, it appears that Ten Hag was banking on him.
3) Money has run out for new signings
You may argue that this should be number one. Manchester United’s funds had ran out after three signings. Even with a small profit from the sales of Anthony Elanga, Fred, and Alex Telles, it is insufficient to fund further moves. The predicted sale of Harry Maguire has not occurred, and Dean Henderson and Donny van de Beek may only be on loan. Meanwhile, injuries in the midfield mean Scott McTominay will almost certainly have to stay. All impetus from a promising start to the transfer window has stalled.
2) Rasmus Hojlund being injured
There was excitement to watch Rasmus Hojlund in action after his £64 million deal was revealed. However, this has not yet occurred. The Dane arrived with a back ailment that forced him to miss the first two games, and Anthony Martial was also unable to play. This was another poor planning by United, where both quantity and quality were necessary. Hojlund may be returning soon, but his absence is already felt. After two games, United has produced the third most ‘big chances’ in the league, but the only player to score is centre-back Raphael Varane.
1) The Glazers are still here
The Glazers are the basis of all Manchester United’s troubles. After years of mismanagement, United is forced to sell to buy in order to strengthen the squad, while undesired players remain at the club on hefty wages. The mismanagement of the Mason Greenwood incident might also be attributed to their lack of a leader. The club’s commercial-focused strategy resulted in a globetrotting pre-season tour. The intended buyout has not yet been completed, with conflicting headlines each week about whether they will sell or stay. For the time being, they stay, casting a shadow over Manchester United.