Skip to main content

EPL: Manchester United defeated by Swansea on opening day

August 16, 2014 -- Updated 1849 GMT (0249 HKT)
Wayne Rooney of Manchester United looks dejected during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford on August 16, 2014.
Wayne Rooney of Manchester United looks dejected during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford on August 16, 2014.
  • Manchester United suffer 2-1 defeat to Swansea City on EPL opening day
  • Goals from Ki Sung Yueng and Gylfi Sigurdsson ensure victory for Swans
  • Wayne Rooney scores overhead kick but United fail to inspire

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- It was billed as a bright new beginning.

But in the end Manchester United's opening day fixture of the EPL season bore all the hallmarks of its recent troubled past as Swansea City upset Louis Van Gaal's side to win 2-1 at Old Trafford Saturday.

Goals from Ki Sung Yueng and Gylfi Sigurdsson either side of a spectacular Wayne Rooney overhead kick ensured the Swans were full value for the three points.

Apart from a Rooney free-kick that cracked the post midway through the second half, United rarely threatened or looked like a side capable of getting its league campaign off to a winning start.

"It is very disappointing that we have lost our first home match," Van Gaal told BT Sport in his post game interview.

Lampard: Leaving Chelsea now feels right
Lampard determined to make mark on MLS
Germany's rebuilt team may win World Cup

"We didn't reach the level we can play at. That is disappointing because we have done it much better and when you cannot do it in your first home match that is disappointing, especially for the fans."

The feelgood factor had seemed to have returned to United since Van Gaal's appointment earlier in the summer.

A busy pre-season witnessed promising victories over Liverpool, Roma, Valencia and Real Madrid.

But Saturday's performance had more in common with last year's disastrous campaign under David Moyes which saw the Red Devils finish seventh, their lowest placing in Premier League history.

"We were very nervous in first half, made the wrong choices and that is a pity. In the second half we never played as a team, therefore I'm responsible," Van Gaal continued.

"We had more chances than Swansea but that shall say nothing about the result. It is the goals that count.

"I thought we would win (when the scores were tied at 1-1 in the second half) but because we are not playing as a team in the second half we made the wrong decisions going forward."

Van Gaal intimated later in an interview with MUTV that there would be further signings arriving at Old Trafford before the transfer window slams shut at the end of August.

Judging by this performance, the prospective new arrivals can't arrive soon enough.

United began with a 3-5-2 system similar to that employed by Van Gaal's Dutch side at the World Cup earlier this summer before switching to a 4-4-1-1 as the game progressed.

There were competitive debuts to new $48 million midfield signing Ander Herrera and 20-year-old center half Tyler Blackett.

Newly installed captain Wayne Rooney led the line alongside Javier Hernandez with Robin Van Persie still missing after he was given extended holiday to recover from his World Cup exertions.

Like many a visitor to Old Trafford, Swansea sat in deep and attempted to play on the break.

It was a tactic that would work to perfection as United pressed and dominated possession but produced few goal-scoring opportunities.

Ki was a standout in midfield for Swansea while Ashley Williams was his usual commanding self at the back, organizing when required and reading the game exceptionally well.

"We have been working hard in pre-season on defensive shape and we can get even better at that but there were pleasing signs in the way we stuck together and the goals we scored against a side of Manchester United's resources," said Swansea manager Gary Monk.

"We have worked on the mentality side of things so that even when things go against us we continue to believe in what we are doing."

Having lost a raft of key players over the summer, including Chico Flores, Michel Worm and Ben Davies, many observers had questioned whether Swansea would be relegation candidates.

With more solid, mature performances like this over the coming season such predictions will be made to look badly placed.

Read: Who will win the English Premier League?

Part of complete coverage on
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Last season Jose Mourinho wrote off the title of hopes of his "little horse" -- but now he has a squad primed to dethrone Manchester City.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1858 GMT (0258 HKT)
Luis Suarez will have to wait until late October to make his competitive Barcelona debut his ban for biting an opponent was partially upheld.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1649 GMT (0049 HKT)
Can Louis van Gaal cut it at Manchester United? Will Bayern conquer all in Germany? Is this PSG's year to win the Champions League?
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 1012 GMT (1812 HKT)
It's been a difficult year for Barcelona on and off the pitch, and the signing of Luis Suarez has only increased the prospect of more controversy.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 1435 GMT (2235 HKT)
Germany striker Miroslav Klose, who scored a total of 16 goals at four World Cup finals, has announced his retirement from international football.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Cultural y Deportivo Leonesa line up in their tuxedo kit.
When celebrating an important anniversary, it's always good to look your best. At least that's theory for a Spanish football team's preseason tuxedo kit.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1103 GMT (1903 HKT)
While many top European clubs are targeting the U.S. market, French football is setting its sights on expanding into Asia -- with China playing a key role.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 1229 GMT (2029 HKT)
Major League Soccer has snared another big name from England with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard committing his future to New York City FC.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1656 GMT (0056 HKT)
Europe's top clubs have booked a summer holiday to the U.S. -- but this is business not pleasure as they look to cash in on the World Cup afterglow.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1828 GMT (0228 HKT)
Brazil's new coach Dunga won the World Cup as a player in 1994.
Former World Cup-winning captain Dunga is appointed coach of Brazil's national team for the second time, charged with restoring national pride.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
Colombia's World Cup star James Rodriguez continues Real Madrid's long tradition of signing "Galacticos."
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has decided to go out at the top by announcing his retirement from international football.