MANCHESTER, England -- Manchester United have been keen to present a unified front this week, but the thing about telling everyone you're in it together is that it's not enough to talk about it -- you have to show it.
The 2-1 win over Chelsea on Wednesday was supposed to be evidence that this is a team fighting for each other and their manager, Erik ten Hag, but there was none of that spirit and determination as they were embarrassed by AFC Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday.
It finished 3-0 to the visitors, who cruised to the first win at Old Trafford in their history, and it could quite easily have been more.
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Bournemouth had a goal ruled out for offside in the first half, hit the post, and had another goal chalked off by the VAR for handball against the scorer, Dango Ouattara, in stoppage time, which would have made the final scoreline 4-0.
It would have been nothing more than United deserved, and after a week of training-ground bans for members of the media, maybe Ten Hag should extend the suspensions to a few of his underperforming players.
"I'm annoyed, disappointed, definitely," Ten Hag said in his postmatch news conference. "We are really inconsistent. We have the ability to do it, but you have to do it every game and every third day. After the 2-0, we broke down so we have to do things better."
The expectation ahead of the game was that United would build on one of their best performances of the season against Chelsea, but it started badly against Bournemouth and got steadily worse.
Bournemouth's first goal after five minutes was the most glaring example, when Bruno Fernandes clipped a lazy pass towards Scott McTominay, who was barged off the ball by Lewis Cook. Sofyan Amrabat had a five-yard head start to beat Cook to it, but instead the Bournemouth midfielder won the race and crossed for Solanke to guide his finish into the far corner.
"I expected something different," Ten Hag said. "I hoped before the game you can build on the performance and result from Chelsea, so it's very disappointing the way we started the game. The way we started is no good, that is poor. It shouldn't happen."
The second goal came after Shaw gave the ball away with a sloppy pass and was then bulldozed out of the way at the back post by Philip Billing to head past Onana, before a dire display was summed up when an unmarked Marcos Senesi headed in a corner.
It was a soft goal to round off the softest of performances from a United team who were supposed to be showing their teeth in the wake of reports of bubbling discontent in the dressing room following a poor start to the season.
Lose to Liverpool next weekend at Anfield, where they were beaten 7-0 last season, and there will be growing doubts about whether there will be any European football at Old Trafford next year, let alone the Champions League.
Ten Hag will be without Fernandes against Liverpool, after he picked up a late booking -- his fifth of the season -- for dissent. He will serve a one-match ban, and it was another needless show of indiscipline of the kind which has already pockmarked the campaign.
"I think, as a squad, we are not good enough to be consistent and we have to work as a squad to improve that," Ten Hag added. "As a group, we have to improve. We have to get tougher, be ready for the game from the start. I said it can't be in this league because if you are not playing on the highest levels, you get killed."
The question now is which United team will turn up against Bayern on Tuesday; one ready to scrap and battle for a place in the round of 16 of the Champions League, or the one which rolled over against Bournemouth?
Before facing the German champions, Ten Hag will speak at his prematch news conference on Monday and will -- no doubt -- use it as another opportunity to talk up the unity and togetherness of his players, but the words will mean nothing unless they can back it up on the pitch. The time for talking is over.