Dimitar Berbatov has called for calm surrounding Manchester United early season chaos, noting it was too early to make any judgements about Jose Mourinho’s side.
Tensions were already high among supporters and pundits following a trophy-less second season and a frustratingly fallow transfer window, during which Fred was the club’s only major signing.
And those tensions have exploded into outright hysteria among supporters following a pitiful performance against Brighton and Hove Albion over the weekend.
But Berbatov, despite the horror show on Sunday, has made it clear that it was way too early to pull the knives out.
“It’s not been a good week for Manchester United and now they have a tough fixture to get through, but I really don’t think we can – or even should – pass judgement on my old team yet,” he said.
“I didn’t expect the defeat to Brighton. No-one did. United didn’t play well and they lost because Brighton wanted it more than them, simple as that. That’s not a good thing but please don’t overreact to one defeat so early in the season.
“The positive thing about the defeat is that it’s still only the second game of the season so there is a long way to go. I remember losing our second game in 2009-10, 1-0 at Burnley, and we finished second that season, one point behind Chelsea.
“Nobody was crying after that defeat, Sir Alex was very calm. We beat Wigan 5-0 away from home in the next game and won eight in a row.
“United’s season will not be defined by one defeat in mid-August. Come on, it’s the second game of the season! Every team can lose at any time and every team will lose again this season. The point is to take the lessons from the loss and not repeat those mistakes. It’s as simple as that.
“Manchester United have unbelievable players in their squad and they can absolutely put this right. Sometimes against the underdog you can lose because they want it more. It happens to every team.
“I do wonder if all this negativity is necessary but obviously football is a business, and a little bit of politics. You have people causing trouble, spreading ‘fake news’, rumours and it all gets repeated and becomes truth. But this is kids’ stuff and it doesn’t help anyone.”
Rarely has one game so early in the season stimulated such a widespread, blood curdling meltdown among supporters.
Berbatov is right, of course. Losing at this stage of the season – in the way United did – can be passed off as teething problems, of not being properly at it. There would be more reason to be worried if we saw that performance in, say, November. After all, nobody remembers United losing their first game of the season in 2012, do they?
But this current scenario feels different. Defeat at Brighton let loose tensions and fears which had lay dormant for several months. And with nine months of uncertainly looming, it is hard to see the landscape at this as club as anything other than bleak.