It was supposed to be a grand occasion for Wayne Rooney and Manchester United, but in the end it proved to be anything but.
New manager Louis van Gaal made his competitive bow at Old Trafford on Saturday, but he failed to lead the Red Devils to victory as Swansea City got the better of them 2-1 in the opening match of the 2014-15 Premier League season.
The Swans, who were the better side over the 90 minutes, took the lead just before the half-hour mark through Ki Sung-yueng.
Rooney, who was wearing the captain’s armband against Swansea, equalised in the early minutes of the second half, but the Welsh outfit had the last laugh when Gylfi Sigurdsson found the target in the 72nd minute.
This was not the start that United fans were looking for, as under legendary Dutch coach Van Gaal, the Manchester outfit were expected to kick-start their quest to reclaim the Premier League title in style.
But United failed to do so, leading Rooney, who joined United from Everton for a transfer fee of £27 million in the summer of 2004, to admit that it was ‘a disastrous start’.
‘It was a disastrous start for us, but we have to move on’, the 28-year-old England international told MUTV after the match on Saturday. ‘We're not happy, the manager's not happy.
‘We'll have to go through what went wrong during the week. We'll do that. I thought today we didn't play as well together as a team as we can do. We have to put that right’.
|Team||Pos||Goals||Ontarget Scoring Att||Successful Final Third Passes||Pen Area Entries||Accurate Pass||Apps||Mins|
|Wayne Rooney||Man Utd||FW||1||3||8||4||21||1||90|
To term United’s start to the new campaign as ‘disastrous’ is a hyperbole – after all, it was just one game against a good Swansea side - but the fact that Rooney uses it demonstrates just how determined he, his teammates and Van Gaal are to win the league this season.
Last season the 20-time English champions finished seventh in the table and are under immense pressure to at least make it to the top four in 2014-15. Given how competitive this season promises to be in terms of a place in the top six, every point matters.