LONDON: Manchester United’s troubled season hit a new low on Saturday as José Mourinho saw his gamble on introducing a new tactical system backfire with an insipid 3-1 defeat to West Ham United in the Premier League.
After a week in which he had dropped Paul Pogba as vice-captain and seen his men ousted from the Carabao Cup, Mourinho watched United’s faint league title hopes dwindle further with a new-look setup but the same old prosaic fare.
With Pogba so ineffective that he was substituted after 70 minutes, Mourinho’s unfamiliar 3-5-2 line-up quickly capitulated as record signing Felipe Anderson scored his first Hammers’ goal with an audacious back-foot flick after five minutes.
Andriy Yarmolenko’s shot deflected off Victor Lindelöf for an unlucky own goal just before the break but though substitute Marcus Rashford gave the visitors hope with a clever volleyed 71st-minute flick, Marko Arnautović waltzed between United’s central defenders minutes later to seal victory.
Manchester United’s 10 points equals the club’s worst return after the first seven matches of any season in the Premier League era, heaping more pressure on Mourinho, whose brand of football seems to be delivering neither points nor pleasure to United’s fans.