Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal can take some comfort from the fact that David Moyes’ disappointing tenure at the club started with a 4-1 win away to Swansea, so a 2-1 loss against the Welsh side suggests the Dutchman’s opening-fixture result will have little bearing on the season ahead.
Here are a few things we learned from the Old Trafford clash.
Manchester United need exactly three more players
It should be no surprise to see the Red Devils linked more regularly with Marcos Rojo, Arturo Vidal and Angel di Maria as the transfer window closes.
Tyler Blackett and Jesse Lingard made their Premier League debuts for United at centre-back and wing-back, while reported Van Gaal wantaways Marouane Fellaini and Nani came on in midfield and out wide in the second half.
The 13-time Premier League champions didn’t play too badly with a lot of key men missing, so there won’t be any panic emanating from Old Trafford, but they look sure to spend more.
Ander Herrera is worth the £30m
The former Spain youth international was alive to everything in his hour or so on the pitch and dovetailed predictably well with countryman number ten Juan Mata.
Athletic Bilbao always extract the sum they want for players, so United were never going to snap up a bargain in Basque country, but they needed a midfielder like Herrera so badly that his worth to Van Gaal is sizeable.
Swansea have consolidated their position
Chairman Huw Jenkins has hardly made a managerial-appointment misstep in his 12 years at the club, and it seems Garry Monk is another deft pick.
Despite losing the likes of Chico Flores, Pablo Hernandez and Michu, Swansea were excellent and look a tidy outside bet for the top half this term.
Jefferson Montero is quick
BT commentator Ian Darke kept saying he was before he came on, and after a nice kick-and-rush we can confirm the Ecuador international is indeed rapid.
Adnan Januzaj has been down the gym
Van Gaal eventually went to 4-4-2/4-4-1-1 in the second half, having brought on Januzaj – who is definitely not a wing-back – when Lingard went down injured early on.
The Belgian World Cup teenager looked stronger than last season and had the beating of Neil Taylor until the left-back was replaced, winning the corner that lead to Rooney’s smart finish.
United’s new leader won’t be able to resist calls to start Januzaj for long.