The wave of optimism proved just a ripple
In stark contrast to last weekend's dominant win over Norwich, Ryan Giggs' second game in charge of Manchester United was as sure a return to reality as the club and their loyal supporters could have feared. Far from being the start of a beautiful spell in charge of the club, the result ensured Giggs has already suffered a defeat as disappointing as any Moyes experienced.
It's proof Moyes may not have been solely to blame
Either David Moyes has so corrupted this group of United players that seven home defeats this season is solely attributable to his woeful management, or he, and now Giggs' struggles are a result of the current squad being wholly inadequate for a side of United's stature. With three defenders likely to be on their way out in the summer, it is clear there is a lack of focus and concentration, despite those players having countless trophies between them.
The midfield was again outplayed
Sunderland's midfield, at times overrun this season, were outstanding at Old Trafford, showing Mata, Carrick and Fletcher just what kind of application should be put in in order to affect the game. In all truth, Sunderland were unlucky not to have won by at least three goals, and it was all down the United's inability to come to terms with a midfield that until recently looked to belong to a relegated outfit.
Amazing to see the sides that have won at Old Trafford this year
Some, but not all, of United's seven home losses this season have come from some of the stronger teams in the division - but the last time United lost seven as they have done this year they were relegated from the league. Everton and Spurs, such strugglers usually on their visits to Old Trafford, are two of the victors, while Manchester City and Liverpool famously ran riot there. Sunderland joined West Brom and Newcastle United as sides that will be amazed to have gone to Old Trafford and left with three points.
Maybe this is a sign Giggs isn't ready yet
With his rather short honeymoon period at the helm already over, it is likely to dispel any ideas that Giggs can waltz in and fix things to the extent that he should be lined up as permanent manager. United clearly need a big, experienced personality to come in and shake things up, and Giggs will be able to walk away from this caretaker position at the end of the season, back to playing or to coaching, without his management credentials having suffered irrevocably. If Moyes had gone earlier in the season, and Giggs' caretaker spell taken in more embarrassing defeats such as these, he might have lost the chance to come back to the role in the future.